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.


  1. Can we nominate her to be the first person to volutarily sign up for rolling blackouts? Maybe the folks at the Eastern Shore Land Convervancy too.

  2. Hey Jonathon, I like your blog. I was driving through Dorchester today and noticed all the signs against the power lines. The funny thing I noticed was they were all right under power lines. It made me realize all the power lines we already live with and barely ever even notice. Plus, why would a group that doesn't want power lines to destroy the landscape put up all those signs that destroy the landscape? Just hit me as kind of funny today.

  3. From Jonathan Travers:
    To Anonymous #1
    You bring up a very good point. I don’t know where Ms. Libby Nagel thinks her electric power comes from now but her letter to the editor of the Daily Times just shows how little she really knows about the subject. As far as the ESLC is concerned, I could only guess what their true motivation is.

    To Anonymous #2
    Thank you for your kind words. I have received many compliments on the open debate aspect of this subject. So much of the Delmarva Peninsula’s future is based on reliable and stable electric power. As far as the opposition’s argument of not wanting the landscape changed, and yet they are putting up obnoxious signs all along RT. 50 that is about as aggressively ugly as one can get. I guess one could say that they don’t even practice what they are preaching. Quite hypocritical don’t you think?

  4. Here's some primary documentation that you seem to be unaware of, links below. What MAPP is offering is access to new coal generation for DEC. What MAPP is also offering is the NE section of Line 4 of Project Mountaineer, bringing up Amos plant coal energy northeasterly. Congestion in Delmarva has dropped dramatically, even DEC admits in their most recent Energy Plan!
    Anyway, the origin of the MAPP line is found in a FERC transcript from the "Transmission for Coal" FERC docket:
    Here's the Project Mountaineer map showing the MAPP line as the NE part of Line 4: