PJM halts Artificial Island power line project to Delaware

Artificial Island nuclear complex. Source: Areva

Artificial Island nuclear complex. Source: Areva

Directors of a regional power grid operator have temporarily pulled the plug on a controversial transmission line project that Delaware and Maryland officials have said would impose unfair cost burdens on their residents.

The PJM Interconnection Board said Friday it was suspending the Artificial Island transmission line project and directing PJM to perform a comprehensive analysis supporting a path forward.

Last year, the board approved construction of a 230-kilovolt line from the Artificial Island nuclear complex in southern New Jersey to Delaware as a way to improve system reliability.

PJM initially estimated project costs at $137 million, but the estimated price tag has since doubled.

Delaware and Maryland officials have argued that their constituents would be saddled with most of the costs for a project that mostly benefits New Jersey.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell praised the decision to delay construction pending further review:

“I want to commend the PJM board for its decision to suspend further action on the Artificial Island project pending further review. This decision is one that the State of Delaware welcomes. The project as it was proposed would have placed an unjust burden on the state, resulting in higher electric rates for our consumers and businesses. I hope that upon further review, a more equitable solution can be identified.”

Delaware’s lone Congressman, John Carney called the decision great news for Delaware:

The costs residents and business owners were expected to pay under the original agreement were completely unfair and way out of line with any benefits to our state. I’m glad PJM has agreed to take another look at the project, and I hope a more reasonable, equitable solution can be found over the next several months. I will continue to monitor their work.”

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