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Transmission Lines from Coal Country May Be Unnecessary

Conservation and efficiency evaluations tip the scale

Updating a story from a few weeks ago, proposals for big new transmission lines that would bring coal plant energy from the Appalachia to the Eastern Seaboard are not standing up well when put under the microscope.

The largest of these projects, the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), was recently put on ice when the proponents (two coal companies) were challenged to prove they were actually needed.

Earthjustice attorney Abigail Dillen challenged the PATH proposal in Virginia on behalf of the Sierra Club. She argued that reduced demand and increased efficiency must be considered when weighing the need for the project.

An independent analysis revealed that the PATH project was not essential by 2014, as proponents had argued. With the Virginia section of the project on hold, regulators in Maryland are now reconsidering their section of the line.

A second large transmission line, the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) has come under similar scrutiny. On Jan. 14, Pepco Holdings asked that the Maryland Public Service Commission delay consideration of their permit for that project. 

The decisions on the PATH and MAPP lines are now calling into question the need for a third project the Susquehanna-Roseland Power Transmission Line.


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