Monday, September 14, 2009

Rebuttal to The Daily Times letter on MAPP

A reader passed on this letter to “The Daily Times” and is written by a Ms. Libby Nagel of Vienna. She identified herself as the "President of Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy."
Her comments are below:

“The MAPP transmission line is one of many options for improving the reliability of electric service on the Delmarva Peninsula. At this point, it appears MAPP may be the most expensive option in terms of costs and ecological impacts. For example, new extra-high voltage circuits could be strung along an existing transmission line running from Harford County to the Peach Bottom nuclear plant to northern Delaware. This alternative costs a fourth of MAPP ($295 million vs. $1.2 billion) and affects a fraction of the lands impacted by MAPP.
The letter writer cited mothballing two of four Indian River generating units as a reason MAPP is urgently needed. However, the two aging units generate but 137 megawatts of electricity. The larger remaining units will generate 620 megawatts -- enough for a half-million homes.
PJM is responsible for transmission line planning in 13 states, including Delmarva. Last April, PJM announced that the Delaware portion of MAPP was not needed and placed this section on indefinite hold. In July, the Maryland Public Service Commission suspended the review of MAPP due to the PJM action.
Given that MAPP is not urgently needed, Maryland should join Delaware in taking a comprehensive look at all options for maintaining reliable, low-cost electric service. If MAPP proves to be the best option, then Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy would support a well-designed project.”

In summation, she is stating her case as if there is only one transmission line that needs to be considered. For those educated in electrical engineering, it is plain that she does not even have the basic understanding of Ohms Law. What MAPP is offering is THREE access points for electrical transmission routes. One will supply the Delmarva Peninsula from across the Chesapeake Bay. The second one will come down from the Wilmington / Philadelphia route. The third will be able to feed coming across the north end of the Delaware Bay.

Let me try to explain it this way. If you run just one transmission route like Ms. Nagel is stating would be like having one extension cord with a hundred electrical appliances, tools, etc. plugged into it. It will not be long before you have overloaded the circuit causing a short circuit or even causing a fire. It is the diversification that the three routes provide so the electrical load required for the Delmarva Peninsula is what will make the electrical grid secure and stable.

When she makes the statement that 620 megawatts being enough for half-million homes…I guess she does not need electric for business, industry, traffic and street light, etc. I can only think of the saying, “A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing,” and Ms. Nagel has demonstrated her sever lack of knowledge in this subject by the statements in her letter.

When she stated, “Given that MAPP is not urgently needed,” and yet it has been noted that Delmarva could start experiencing rolling black outs by 2011; her statement is more out of desire than actual facts. How long does Ms. Nagel think a transmission line takes to be constructed? The time to address this transmission route is NOW.

As I see it, Ms. Nagel’s letter to The Daily Times identifying herself as the "President of Citizens for Safe Energy," would be better off proclaiming herself as the President of the Dorchester's chapter of the Mickey Mouse Club based on what I noted as her lack of understanding of electrical engineering per her comments.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Delmarva’s Electric Power Needs

I was contemplating why there was such concern for the few people on this new DC transmission line that is to come across the Chesapeake Bay into shores of Dorchester County that then continues to Vienna. I took note to review the existing transmission lines that already run to and from the Vienna area. There are already seven transmission lines that range from 69kV to 230kV. How could anyone notice this new transmission line when there are already so many to blend in with? The seven existing transmission lines have not ruined or devastated Dorchester County’s natural beauty, ruined farmland, or destroyed existing chicken houses. This has been the opposition’s allegations directed at MAPP that upon real review does not stand up to the charges.

Pepco has held four meetings around Dorchester in the past few weeks to quell the fears of the citizens, to get input, and pass on accurate information. Jonathan Travers Chronicles has been passing on information for the last couple of months to educate the citizens of not only Dorchester County, but Delmarva in general.

Upon the completion of the meetings, the Vice President of Delmarva Power, John J. Allen Jr., noted feedback from the citizens in general has been, "Most people are pretty neutral about it." After the meetings Mr. Allen was approached by many attending saying that they would be happy with a line that was hidden in the woods.

I myself have noted the same feedback from those whom I have spoken with and explained the reasons for the need of MAPP. Given the choice of potential rolling blackouts by 2011, or worst, a catastrophic electrical failure on the infrastructure grid from overloads; compared to the addition of one more transmission line going to Vienna; people understand the choice for the need of MAPP to be built.

The Public Service Commission report released last December warned that the Delmarva Peninsula could experience rolling blackouts as early as 2011 to helped people understand the reason for MAPP’s conception. MAPP was not thought up as a means to ruin people’s lives. The Delmarva Peninsula is in dire need to address this situation of lost generation supply. As Marynan Spear, a Vienna resident, stated, "If you need it, you need it."

Well I can’t say it any better than that. Adding transmission lines is essential to keeping power running and people’s lights on. The Eastern Shore lacks a strong transmission system to get power here and we need to firm up the electrical grid system. The single source coming from the Wilmington / Philadelphia area is not the answer as this is the main problem now. Diversification of several sources like transmission runs coming across the Delaware Bay from New Jersey, coming from Calvert Cliffs across the Chesapeake Bay, and down from the north of the Peninsula is the way to address the need.

Finaly, and this may not be the case for Dorchester County because we have slated “NO GROWTH” as our county’s comprehensive plan, but demand for energy on the rest of the Delmarva Peninsula is projected to increase 20 percent over the next 10 years.