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Last week, PJM Interconnection's Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee (TEAC) recommended that the grid operator pull the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) and Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) projects out of PJM's Regional Transmission Expansion Plan.

Both projects have been on ice since the middle of last year. PJM indefinitely suspended PATH last February, and in August 2011, development of the MAPP was delayed to the 2019-2021 time frame. Now, both projects will likely come off the books formally when PJM's board acts on TEAC's findings later this month.

The PATH, a joint project from affiliates of American Electric Power (AEP) and FirstEnergy, was planned to be a 275-mile, 765 kV network connecting West Virginia and Maryland. The MAPP, which was being pursued by subsidiaries of Pepco Holdings Inc., was designed to run 152 miles from northern Virginia, under the Chesapeake Bay and into Delaware.

"Grid conditions have changed since the lines were originally planned, and our updated analysis no longer shows a need for the lines to maintain grid stability," PJM said in a media advisory.

TEAC, the group responsible for examining long-term transmission system needs across PJM's footprint (which includes all or parts of 13 states and D.C.), originally confirmed the need for both projects back in 2007. Since that time, however, the economic downturn resulted in lower forecasts for electricity demand, and the grid itself has improved without adding new infrastructure. For instance, PJM’s capacity auction for 2012 added 14.8 GW of demand response resources, which helps the grid operator balance supply and demand.

"We're disappointed, but not surprised by the recommendation," AEP's Melissa McHenry tells Renew Grid. "We have put a lot of work into the project, but the importance of PATH had declined in recent periods because of the weak economy and other related issues."

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