Delaware legislation aims to give leverage over controversial Artificial Island project
- The Delaware Senate this week unanimously approved a bill that would give the Public Service Commission authority over transmission lines, which could threaten a controversial project that could add significant cost to residential and business customers. The bill now heads to Gov. John Carney for the final decision. The House passed the measure last year.
- PJM Interconnection wants to construct a 230 kV transmission line under the Delaware River, connecting the Salem Nuclear and Hope Creek plants on New Jersey's Artificial Island to a substation in Delaware. The project would improve stability and address voltage issues, but Delaware customers could be on the hook for 90% of the cost, despite receiving only a fraction of the project's benefit.
- Meanwhile, Clean Line Energy, which sought to build a $2.5 billion transmission line through parts of the South and Midwest, shelved its plans to build In Arkansas. But state lawmakers are pressing Energy Secretary Rick Perry to withdraw the Department of Energy from the project as well, Arkansas business reports.
The Artificial Island project will cost about $280 million, and the question of who pays is still being determined. In 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a plan that stuck Delaware consumers with the lion's share of costs, despite determining the Delmarva Peninsula would receive only about 10% of the benefits.
According to The News Journal, that would add about $13 to residential bills and roughly $6,000 for some small businesses. For the state's largest consumers of energy, the rate hike could be even more. But last year, PJM floated alternatives in a report, “Stability Project Beneficiary Identification Alternatives,” that would put most of the cost burden on New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The legislation passed this week would require transmission projects to receive approval from the PSC, which gives the state additional leverage over the project.Sen. Harris McDowell (D) told News Journal "I don't think it was designed specifically to do that," but added that if a project would harm customers then the PSC would be correct in intervening.
PJM proposed the project in 2015 to connect Salem Nuclear units 1 and 2 and Hope Creek unit 1 to a new Delaware substation, to boost reliability in the area. The grid operator selected L.S. Power to construct the line.
The Artificial Island project is not the only transmission project facing backlash. Arkansas lawmakers have been pushing back against Clean Line Energy Partners's proposed transmission line that would have cut across the state. The DOE's involvement signaled interference with Arkansas lawmaking, critics told the news outlet. The project's fate remains uncertain.
- The News Journal Delaware General Assembly passes 'kill switch' for Artificial Island project
- Arkansas Business Clean Line Shelves Arkansas Plans; Delegation Steps Up Attack
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