Transource settles on proposed power line route through York County
Jay McGinnis, a New Park farmer, talks about his decision to fight Transource as they plan to build new electric transmission lines in southern York County
An operator of competitive wholesale electricity and its contractor have notified York County property owners of the final route of a proposed two-state transmission line it intends to submit to utility regulators in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
PJM Interconnection hired Transource Energy last year to build the $320 million "market efficiency" project, known as the "Independence Energy Connection."
The east segment of the project includes approximately 16 miles of new overhead electric transmission line that will connect a new substation in Lower Chanceford Township to the existing Conastone Substation, near Norrisville in Harford County, Maryland.
There also is a west segment in Franklin County, according to Transource Energy.
The final route was determined by affected landowners, Transource spokesperson Abby Foster said. The first and second attempts at routes, presented to area residents this summer, were revised based on comments, concerns and questions.
On Saturday, Transource Energy officials notified most landowners who could be affected by the transmission line, explaining to them the energy company's next step: filing construction applications with the Pennsylvania Utility Commission and the Maryland Public Service Commission by the end of the year.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with the line being operational by mid-2020, Transource Energy officials said.
The new power line is considered a solution to alleviating an electricity "bottleneck," according to Transource Energy Director Todd Burns, who said there is more available electricity in the northern part of the project than in the southern part.
The new transmission line is anticipated to lower electricity costs for mid-Atlantic ratepayers, he has said.
"The input gathered over the last months was a critical component of our decision-making process," Burns said. "We are confident that the route selection strikes the balance between building the required infrastructure that powers our homes and economy, while respecting land use and the environment in these communities."
York County Planning Commission Director Felicia Dell has expressed concern about how the power line would affect land use in southeastern York County, which she said "has some of the best contiguous acreages of prime agricultural soils and preserved farms."
The county Planning Commission is preparing to support landowners throughout the Pennsylvania Utility Commission public-hearing process.
"The map doesn’t provide a lot of detail, so we are working to get a better understanding of the route," Dell said.
Members of the group Stop Transource in Pennsylvania and Maryland oppose the powerline and said they will continue attempts to block it.
Laurie Donaldson wrote on the group's Facebook page, "this is about taking land from people and using it to build (an) unnecessary transmission line in order to make more profit for energy brokers. That is all. It benefits no one, not even DC people ..."
Columbus-Ohio based Transource Energy is a partnership between American Electric Power and Great Plains Energy. The company is considered a public utility in Pennsylvania.
Transource has the power of eminent domain but must receive PUC approval before construction of the project.