Friday, September 19, 2014
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BPU Questions PJM Plan to Route Power Line Through Wildlife Refuge

The state is expressing concerns over a route for a new transmission line under consideration by the operator of the regional power grid, saying it may impact sensitive environmental areas and be subject to delays because of opposition.

BPU Questions PJM Plan to Route Power Line Through Wildlife Refuge

The N.J. Board of Public Utilities is questioning a plan to route an 18-mile high-voltage power line through a national wildlife refuge and state-run wildlife management areas.
The N.J. Board of Public Utilities is questioning a plan to route an 18-mile high-voltage power line through a national wildlife refuge and state-run wildlife management areas. NJ Spotlight

The state is expressing concerns over a route for a new transmission line under consideration by the operator of the regional power grid, saying it may impact sensitive environmental areas and be subject to delays because of opposition.

In a letter from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to PJM Interconnection, the agency questioned why its staff recommended a preferred route cutting through a national wildlife refuge and state-run wildlife management areas. PJM is expected to act on the staff recommendation later this month.

The 18-mile high-voltage line will run from the Hope Creek nuclear power plant in Salem County to neighboring Delaware, a project designed to address potential reliability problems in the region. The current transmission lines are pushed to the limits of how much power they can deliver from the facility, according to the PJM.

In the first transmission upgrade in PJM to be competitively bid out, instead of ordering the incumbent utility (in this case, Atlantic City Electric) to undertake the project, the staff recommended that Public Service Electric & Gas be awarded the contract as the preferred alternative. The initiative is expected to cost between $280 million and $320 million.

The proposed route, one of nine projects under consideration, may affect the Supawana Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsville, the Alloway Creek Watershed Wetland Restoration site, the Abbots Meadow Wildlife Management Area in Elsinboro, and the Mad Horse Creek Wildlife Management Area in Salem, according to the BPU letter mailed in early June.

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