But the routes could change
By: Ed Mahon |
A major new electric transmission line could go through southcentral Pennsylvania to parts of Maryland, although the company behind the project says routes haven’t yet been determined.
A map from PPL Corp.’s Pennsylvania utility, PPL Electric Utilities Corp., shows the line running across much of northern Pennsylvania, as well as to New York, New Jersey and Maryland.
“It will serve those various points, but it may not take a straight line between those points,” said Paul Wirth, a spokesman for PPL Electric Utilities.
Preliminary estimates put the cost at between $4 billion and $6 billion, according to PPL. The line would run about 725 miles under the current proposal.
The company said in a July 31 news release that the goal is to make electric service more reliable and more secure, while reducing the cost of electricity for consumers.
Wirth said the line would lower the overall wholesale price of electricity by bringing in lower costing power from natural gas drilling areas.
PPL may partner with other companies for the project. Wirth said utility companies already have the required right-of-ways in some areas.
PPL submitted its proposals to PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization, which describes itself as responsible for managing the high-voltage electricity grid to ensure reliable coverage for more than 61 million people. PJM Interconnection received proposals from multiple entities.
PJM spokesman Ray Dotter said the organization expects to decide on proposals by the end of the year. A combination of proposals could be accepted, he said.
The PPL news release said a variety of regulatory and regional planning entities will need to approve the project, and the hope is to begin construction in 2017. The project could be completed between 2023 and 2025, according to the release.
Roy Livergood Jr., a senior planner with the York County Planning Commission, said county officials would be able to provide comments to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, if the project gets that far.
He said county planners like to see utilities and natural gas companies cooperate and put their facilities in the same areas, because it minimizes the impact on nature and any future development.
“There’s only so much room to locate these things,” said Livergood, who works in the long range planning division.
The July news release from PPL said the company “would consider public input when making a final route selection.”
York County Commissioner Chris Reilly said he’s glad to hear the company is willing to make such a large financial commitment. He said improving the state’s aging energy infrastructure is a good thing.
“I think it would be fine for York County,” Reilly said, “as long as they’re transparent with the process and take the time to educate the public.”