Big Coal Gets Wired: With A Little Help From Its Friends
The plan to build new power lines from Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the Washington DC area looks like a good way to increase the carbon "footprint" of East Coast city dwellers.
According to testimony at a a formal public hearing, it was learned that an agency of the US Federal government encouraged construction of power transmission lines across state lines without examination of distributed power options closer to the customer base. And, of course, it is pure coincidence that the lines will be fed by coal fired power plants.
First you blow up the mountain tops and then you cross forested lowlands with transmission lines. No wait. First you pass a law which gives the Federal Government supreme decision making authority over routing of the transmission lines. Then, you blow up the mountain tops...
Plans for a $1.3 billion power line across northern West Virginia were hatched as a scheme to funnel more coal-fired electricity into eastern cities, the state Public Service Commission heard Wednesday.
During the first day of formal PSC hearings, critics of the Allegheny Energy plan tried to chip away at the company's justification for the 500-kilovolt-transmission line.
Electrical grid managers and Allegheny Energy came up with the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line, or TrAIL, to respond to federal government questions about how to "get more coal" out of West Virginia and other Appalachian states, the PSC learned.
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Utility planners did not consider other fuels, or adding more power plants closer to the growing electrical demand in Washington, D.C., and its growing suburbs, commissioners were told.
TreeHugger comment: Like strategic thinking? Try this one out. Let the lines be built. Enact strong carbon cap legislation with a short phase in period. Then pass strong incentives for construction of wind farms contiguous to the new power transmission corridor.