Due to today's small news saturday Star Ledger story reporting on
Governor Corzine's Energy Plan's stealth embrace of PSEG plans for a
new Nuke Plant in South Jersey, I thought I'd REPOST this March 10
post. Interested readers can listen to a WBAI radio interview on the
issue by clicking on the mp3 Thursday March 27 6: 00 am link - listen
at minutes 45:00 - 60:00 http://archive.wbai.org/ ]
BPU's "hands tied" by deregulation - deal would lead to more
air pollution, greater global warming emissions, and higher rates for
consumers. PSEG announces that new nuke plant planned for south jersey.
New plants and transmission lines for north jersey
Selover, Executive V.P. and General Counsel, PSEG defends controversial
power sale to NY City before Assembly Utilities Committee.
Former Star Ledger political columnist, Tom Moran, recently hired as PSEG's Policy Director, watches hearing from the shadows.
Moran received a baptism of fire - It will take Moran's best spin to pull PSEG's chestnuts out of this fire.
Trenton - PSEG's Executive Vice President and General Counsel appeared
before the legislature today to try to justify PSEG's controversial
plan to sell electric power to NY City produced by the plant in
Ridgefield, Bergen County. The proposal had been blasted by NJ Rate
Counsel as likely to lead to higher rates and a less reliable power
system for NJ consumers.
Other NY City power export deals already under
consideration would cost over $1.5 BILLION in new power plant
construction and transmission lines to offset and mitigate the loss of
NJ produced power (PJM testimony). NJ Rate Counsel,Stephanie Brand,
testified that the Bergen deal would cost NJ ratepayers from $35
million to $120 million/year in higher electric rates, while providing
windfall profits for PSEG
PSEG plant, Ridgefield, NJ.
Plant would leave the NJ grid and connect to Con Edison's 49th
street Manhattan station. Plan would require new transmission lines,
including one under the Hudson River.
An Assembly Committee held hearings today to explore the impacts of the
sale on NJ consumers and regional electric markets. The deal would
allow PSEG to supply NY City with 550 MW of power generated by PSEG's
Bergen power plant, which would abandon the "PJM" grid. A new 660 MW
line would be buried under the Hudson River, providing additional
capacity to export even more power.
Fiordaliso, Commissioner, Board of Public Utilities (BPU) - warns
Assembly Committee that BPU's "hands are tied" and BPU has no power to
block the PSEG deal, beyond sending a "protest letter" to the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Wolfe, BPU Chief Counsel answers questions regarding ratepayer and
system reliability impacts of proposed PSEG NY City power sale. Wolfe
is a former Assistant Commissioner at NJ DEP (no relation to this
The NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) raised major concerns about the
impact of the deal on the reliability of the PJM grid and electricity
prices. Joseph Fiordaliso, Commissioner of BPU warned the Assembly
Committee about negative aspects of the deal, including higher prices
for NJ consumers, more air pollution, and an increase of imports of
dirty power from the mid-western coal plants. But he said BPU's "hands
are tied". As a result of energy deregulation passed by the NJ
Legislature, BPU has no power to block the PSEG deal, beyond sending a
"protest letter" to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Unfortunately, no legislator seemed willing to explore this predictable
consequence and fatal flaw of energy deregulation.
Stephanie Brand, NJ Rate Counsel implores the Committee to do everything in their power to "stop this" deal from going forward.
NJ Rate Counsel,Stephanie Brand, strongly opposed the deal, calling it
"grossly unfair". She testified that it would cost NJ ratepayers from
$35 million to $120 million/year in higher electric rates, while
providing windfall profits for PSEG. Brand also raised concerns about
effects of reliability after the PSEG Bergen plant abandons the NJ
energy market and PJM grid for the "greener" pastures of NY City. This
deal would open the door to even more exports of NJ produced power to
serve NY City, leaving NJ holding the bag for higher electric rates and
more pollution. Brand took strong exception to PSEG's claim in its
filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). According
to Brand, PSEG's FERC filing claimed that when a private market entity
behaves in a market driven way, then consumers are automatically better
off! Free market fundamentalism. PSEG filing argued that FERC should
not review the negative economic impacts on NJ and that impacts on
reliability were beyond the scope of FERC's review and should be
ignored. Brand implored the Committee to do everything within their
powers to "stop this" deal.
Gabel, Gabel Associates (energy consultant). Gabel sought to educate
the Committee about the "big picture" of "dynamic energy markets".
Gabel stressed "the benefits of interstate commerce" and was the only
testimony that addressed related isues of energy efficiency, renewable
power, and the global warming bill RGGI.
Energy consultant Steve Gabel focused on the "big picture" of "dynamic
energy markets". Gabel stressed "the benefits of interstate commerce"
in energy markets.Gabel identified a "paradox" whereby NJ electric
rates were tied to the low price of high polluting coal, a fact that
makes investments in new cleaner power sources uneconomic. But just
weeks ago, Gabel emphasized that interstate energy markets were a
danger to efforts to combat global warming. During legislative
consideration of the "Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative" (RGGI) bill,
Gabel joined PSEG and a chorus of energy lobbyists to warn of potential
higher prices and increases in global warming emissions due to
increasing imports of dirty coal power from the mid-west. What 8 weeks
ago was criticized as "leakage" that would undermine global warming
policy and increase rates, has now become a pro-consumer "dynamic
market in interstate commerce".
(PJM) regional power grid representative brief the Committee on PJM
role in power distribution, reliability, and rates.
The testimony of PJM representatives should be required reading
- a primer on the economic and regulatory policy barriers to reducing
coal based global warming emissions and market entry/access
restrictions to renewable power technologies. The PJM primary goal is
system reliability - with reliability viewed very narrowly as limited
to increases in power production and distribution. As a result,
economic regulatory policies provide incentives for more traditional
power production that undermine energy conservation and renewable
power.For example, no one mentioned the concept of a "carbon adder" to
make dirty coal power prices reflect their true staggering
environmental costs. The Committee took no testimony from environmental
experts or those concerned about global warming.
Selover summarizes PSEG's $8.5 billion investment in new power
capacity; $5 billion investment in new power distribution; plans to
develop a new nuclear power pant in south Jersey; and plans to expand
costly new power plants in north jersey (oh, BTW, he also mentioned
PSEG commitment to clean air and global warming, and investments in
what he called "non-traditional projects" like a $5 million energy
efficiency pilot project and a $50 ($15?) million new electric metering
initiative. So much for reciprocal investments between new supply and
demand side management and renewable energy!).
Massive and controversial PSEG plans presented as a fait accompli (that's a done deal, for Jersey folks).
Rick Thigpen. PSEG lobbyist.
Thigpen has close ties to the NJ Democratic party.
Alexander (seated). Alexander is a former DEP Assistant Commissioner
and knows how to work the inside DEP and BPU regulatory game.
Assemblyman John Rooney (R/Bergen) - called for investigation of potential "fraud" in prior PSEG regulatory filings
During the recent legislative debate on the RGGI bill, energy
lobbyists suggested that PSEG was involved in a "paradigm shift" from
earning profits from producing power to earning profits from reducing
and conserving power. They used this argument to justify new regulatory
policies and economic incentives for "rate decoupling" and enhanced
return on investment for conservation and efficiency. But today we
heard a completely different tune. Today, we heard that PSEG is for
sure in the power production business. PSEG cavalierly announced
multi-billion plans to increase in-state power production (including,
BTW, a new nuclear plant) and plans to construct more transmission
lines. Few concerns were expressed about imports of dirty mid-west
coal. So much for global warming and all that tree hugger stuff.
During the recent RGGI debate, energy lobbyists suggested that NJ
power demand far outstripped instate energy supply, causing imports of
dirty mid-west coal power. How can they now claim that EXPORT of NJ
generated power to New York City will have no impact on system
reliability or air quality?
The whole scene recalled the closing line of one of my favorite Jack Nicholson movies:
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
Planned Energy Exports from NJ to NY - 2,360 MW total
According to PJM, the following NJ power exports are planned or underway:
1,200 MW (Bergen, proposed)
300 MW (Linden under construction)
200 MW (Linden, proposed)
660 MW (Neptune to Long Island, existing)