With no guidance yet from FERC, Atlantic Wind is forced to wait.
Bruce W. Radford is Publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine. Contact him at email@example.com.
When April came and went without any decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on its highly anticipated but even more controversial new rule on regional grid planning, the Atlantic Wind Connection project was left hanging.
In fact, the $5-billion-plus project has been on standby since December, when, with a PR assist from Google, the project sponsors first applied to FERC for lucrative financial incentives to realize the vision of a 300-mile-long undersea, high-voltage DC backbone transmission line running along the Mid-Atlantic coast. The project is intended to foster development of 6,000 MW—or more—of offshore wind-generated power, to be delivered to the PJM regional power grid.
At issue is whether the nation is really committed to a green future, and whether it will agree to building infrastructure in a comprehensive and systematic way, or whether green power development will continue as it has up to now, marked by a series of one-off projects, each one in turn forced to fight the same political battles.
Opponents—and there are many—challenge Atlantic Wind’s bid for financial incentives. But even more importantly, they challenge the very notion of building a transmission line, as they say, “on spec”—of building a backbone grid superhighway designed to serve a myriad of as-yet-unplanned and un-built wind turbine projects.