Experts in VA Case Say PATH Will Make Grid Less Reliable

Experts in the East Virginia PATH case before the State Corporation Commission have filed testimony providing a detailed description of why PJM Interconnection’s reasoning about PATH is wrong.

Engineer George Loehr is one of the leading grid reliability experts in the US.  In his testimony, Loehr states that PATH is more about profit for AEP/Allegheny than reliability.

PATH would effectively provide a subsidy to existing and future western [PJM] generators – access to the lucrative eastern load centers without cost to themselves. Conversely, the western subsidies would place eastern generators at a significant disadvantage.

Ken Ward has more information about the testimony on Coal Tattoo, plus links to the testimony of Loehr, engineer Hyde Merrill and engineer/economist Robert Fagan.

Here is Mr. Merrill’s conclusion about PATH:

PJM’s planning studies do not justify the PATH line. The vast majority of alleged reliability issues that are presented in support of the PATH line are not based on any modeling or contingency analyses as NERC requires. None of the alleged violations is based on reasonable assumptions regarding the need for power transfer from western to eastern PJM — i.e. reasonable Capacity Emergency Transfer Objective (“CETO”) values. And even if the alleged violations were based on credible analysis — which they are not — none of them creates a present need to build the proposed PATH line. Rejecting PATH now will allow time to develop far better alternatives for the evolution of the power system within PJM’s boundaries.

In contrast, approving this line will lead to increasing reliance by the East Coast on remote coal-fired power plants with continuing or increasing transmission congestion, transmission losses, and a greater risk of cascading blackouts.

Read this remarkable testimony if you want to know in detail why AEP, Allegheny and PJM are wrong about their claimed need for PATH.