Home > Uncategorized > Another Fossil Energy Industry “Reliability” Lie Exposed

Another Fossil Energy Industry “Reliability” Lie Exposed

NJ Exports of Power to NY Are A Massive Ripoff

Opponents of PSEG Susquehanna- Roseland Powerline Proven Correct

Very similar energy industry lies being used to justify gas pipelines

view from Blairstown Rd - looking west

view from Blairstown Rd – looking west (9/3/13)

[Update below]

Today we have some news from New York, which we use to focus on the NJ side of the story and the larger energy infrastructure and climate policy implications.

David Giambusso, reporter for POLITICO New York, just wrote an important killer story that exposes lies by PSEG used to justify billion dollar investments in unnecessary boondoggle fossil energy infrastructure,  see:

A regional fight between utilities could end up costing the New York Power Authority dearly if a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t go its way.

At the center of the fight is the Hudson Transmission Partners (HTP) line between New Jersey and New York City — so far an underperforming investment by New York State that now could be saddled with hundreds of millions in additional costs.

The 660-megawatt transmission line has underperformed since it opened in 2013. NYPA is the leaseholder for the line and has to pay for 75 percent of its capacity whether it delivers electricity or not. So far, the line has delivered far less than needed to make it profitable. In June, POLITICO reported that NYPA could shell out $500 million by 2020 for the line.

Use of the word “underperformed” is an understatement – the HTP powerline is virtually useless. In a prior story, Giambusso reported:

Last May, POLITICO New York reported the line did not deliver electricity 73.6 percent of the time between April 2014 and April 2015. For roughly 24 percent of the time, it delivered less than 99 megawatts. (see: Underperforming NJ-NY transmission line becomes money pit for state authority

The HTP boondoggle exposes the big lie about “reliability” that the fossil energy industry repeatedly uses to justify needless fossil infrastructure projects to boost their profits.

The HTP line was a component of the controversial Susquehanna – Roseland Powerline (SRP) through the Delaware Watergap and NJ Highlands.

Stop the Lines was a local group that opposed the SRP project. They explain the link between the Susquehanna Roseland line and the Hudson line: (read the STL BPU motion to dismiss)citations omitted @ page 12)

In the FERC rate recovery tariff for this project and three others , the Susquehanna-Roseland line is committed to serve points east. This purpose and commitment is evidenced by firm transmission withdrawal rights established for Neptune Regional Transmission System (Neptune) at 685MW and East Coast Power (ECP) at 330MW, totaling 1,015MW of firm transmission withdrawal rights. The PJM tariff assigned cost responsibility for the Susquehanna-Roseland to Neptune and ECP, based on these firm transmission withdrawal rights. This 1,015MW is soon to be joined by Hudson Transmission Partners at 670MW. Exhibit STL-12, p. 8 (firm transmission withdrawal rights allocated and Susquehanna-Roseland cost allocation regarding those firm transmission withdrawal rights); Ex. S-96, Hudson Transmission Partners firm transmission withdrawal rights of 670MW presumed in staff base case). The firm withdrawal rights from the Roseland substation already in the tariff at 1,015MW plus that of the Hudson Transmission Partners (HTP), 670MW, which will be added as soon as the interconnection agreement is signed, totals 1,670MW or more committed.

The SRP opponents  “Stop The Lines” warned that the project was not needed, that PSEG “reliability” claims were lies, and that the real motivations were driven by private profit and expanding markets for coal based power:

Q. Please describe the purpose of your testimony.

A. I have been asked by the Municipal Interveners to challenge the New Jersey segment of the Susquehanna to Roseland 500 kV line (the “Project”). The purpose of my testimony is threefold. First, I believe that the Public Service Electric & Gas Company’s (PSEG) justification for the Project is unsound, and that the Project is not needed due to reductions in electricity demand and diminished economic growth. Second, I will demonstrate that, even if there is a proposed need for electricity, energy efficiency and demand side management, along with the deployment of distributed generation, offer much better alternatives than the Susquehanna-Roseland project. Third, I will describe how the Project appears to violate reasonable standards for electricity reliability, and that it conflicts with New Jersey’s stated energy policy due to the substantial environmental and social costs of the project. (read the energy expert testimony to BPU)

The link to expansion of coal power was made clear in a petition to BPU:

The “PJM Eastern Interface along the Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey” has been described as a “constraint,” and an “impediment to west/east trade,” one of three “certain physical constraints on the transmission system that have limited further flows of coal based generation to markets in the east.”

The Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project, at the northeasterly part of Project Mountaineer Line 1, would traverse that constraint, the “PJM Eastern Interface along the Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey” and address that impediment of coalbased generation to markets in the east. (read the STL BPU motion to dismiss)

Can you even imagine the kind of warped power engineering mentality that views the lovely Wild & Scenic Delaware River as a “constraint” to expansion of coal based markets? That allows those views to dominate energy policy?

In another major “I told you so!”, Stop the Lines even criticized and predicted the current battle over cost allocation:

… cost allocation schemes shifting costs away from economic benefactors so egregious that the court has rejected the cost allocation scheme for the Susquehanna-Roseland project. Foisting this project on landowners and ratepayers of New Jersey would be against the public interest and against the charge of the Board of Public Utilities. (@page 10)

The HTP fiasco should inform the current debates over the need for gas pipeline capacity, which are based on similar lies. (think “resilience“)

[End note: In a 2008 post about legislative hearings on proposed PSEG NJ exports to NY, we questioned how new energy infrastructure for NJ was needed when NJ exported large amounts of power to NY City.

We highlighted contradictions and concluded:

During the recent RGGI debate, energy lobbyists suggested that NJ power demand far outstripped instate energy supply, causing imports of dirty mid-west coal power. How can they now claim that EXPORT of NJ generated power to New York City will have no impact on system reliability or air quality? …

According to PJM, the following NJ power exports are planned or underway:

1,200 MW (Bergen, proposed)
300 MW (Linden under construction)
200 MW (Linden, proposed)
660 MW (Neptune to Long Island, existing)

The testimony of PJM representatives should be required reading – a primer on the economic and regulatory policy barriers to reducing coal based global warming emissions and market entry/access restrictions to renewable power technologies. The PJM primary goal is system reliability – with reliability viewed very narrowly as limited to increases in power production and distribution. As a result, economic regulatory policies provide incentives for more traditional power production that undermine energy conservation and renewable power.For example, no one mentioned the concept of a “carbon adder” to make dirty coal power prices reflect their true staggering environmental costs. The Committee took no testimony from environmental experts or those concerned about global warming.

[Update: My friend Scott Olson, one of the leaders of the SR line opposition, just sent me bunch of new articles that show that I vastly understated the lies. OMG, the entire public justification for the project was a massive and systematic set of lies, see:

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