STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Environmental groups, local residents
BACKGROUND: The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) is a joint venture of American Electric Power (AEP) and Allegheny Energy to build a new high-voltage interstate transmission line from southwest West Virginia to central Maryland. PATH consists of a 765-kilovolt transmission line extending approximately 275 miles from the Amos Substation in Putnam County, WV, to the proposed Kemptown Substation southeast of New Market, MD. The project also includes a new Welton Spring Substation along the proposed route in northwest Hardy County, WV. PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization responsible for the transmission grid covering 13 states and the District of Columbia, directed the construction of PATH to ensure the reliability of the region’s transmission grid. The original cost for the project was $1.8 billion, but AEP and Allegheny updated the estimate in July 2010 to $2.1 billion ($1.4 billion from Allegheny, $700 million from AEP).
A host of environmental and citizens groups oppose the project. They argue PATH is not needed, adequate alternatives exist, comprehensive energy planning is more necessary, and that its environmental impacts outweigh its benefits.
PATH was first announced in 2007. In March 2008, it received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of financial incentives to help support construction. In October 2008, PJM ordered a reconfiguration of the project, which pushed the completion date from 2012 to 2013. In September 2009, PATH faced a setback when the Maryland Public Service Commission rejected the project’s application on procedural grounds, forcing the applicants to regroup and re-file. By 2010, the project’s in-service date was extended again, to mid-2015.
SOURCES: PATH: http://www.pathtransmission.com/news/default.asp;
TD World: http://tdworld.com/overhead_transmission/aep-alleghency-path-progress-0710/;
Piedmont Environmental Council: http://www.pecva.org/anx/index.cfm/1,517,0,0,html/PATH-Line-Information;
Maryland State Journal: http://statejournal.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=66360;
Community & Environmental Defense Services: http://ceds.org/PATHWV/PATHSummaryFactsheet.pdf;
Sierra Club: http://maryland.sierraclub.org/action/p0204.asp; http://westvirginia.sierraclub.org/newsletter/archives/2009/11/a_006.html;
Last Updated: December 9, 2010