Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power (AEP) on Tuesday said they had requested withdrawal of an application to run parts of the proposed Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) through Virginia because data from a regional grid operator showed that the project would not be needed in 2014 to resolve reliability problems on the grid.

The two companies had jointly submitted the application to build the high-voltage transmission line from West Virginia to Maryland, via Virginia. But information recently provided by grid operator PJM Interconnection suggested that the project was not needed with immediacy.

“However, the data recently received from PJM is preliminary and not sufficient to identify a specific in-service date for the project. PJM is in the process of preparing its more comprehensive 2010 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), which will identify an in-service date,” the companies said. A new application was not expected to be filed until further studies were completed—not likely until the third quarter of 2010.
PJM said it supported the company’s motion to withdraw the application because it would give it more time to perform a review of system needs.

As originally proposed, PATH would run a 765-kV line over 275 miles, from a substation near St. Albans, W.Va., to a proposed substation near Kemptown, in Frederick County, Md.

This September, however, Maryland derailed the process for obtaining authorization in all three states when its Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected PATH’s application because the filing entity— The Potomac Edison Co. on behalf of PATH Allegheny Transmission Co. — was not an “electric company” under Maryland law.

The replacement Maryland application was filed again by Potomac Edison on its own behalf. But as a result of the Maryland ruling, the PSC of West Virginia pushed its procedural schedule back in order to avoid considering an incomplete project.

Evidentiary hearings concerning the project in Virginia were scheduled to begin in mid-January. The Virginia State Corporation Commission is expected to hear oral arguments on the withdrawal request on Dec. 30.

Sources: AEP, Allegheny, PATHtransmission.com