2006_08_powerline.jpgYesterday, the Department of Energy listed places that need more power lines, possibly paving the way for the federal government to force states to upgrade or build power lines. The study, the National Electric Transmissin Congestion Study, broke out three kinds of power congestion areas:

The first are categorized as the most severely congested areas - “Critical Congestion Areas,” of which the study identified two critical areas: Southern California and the Atlantic coastal area from the New York City area to northern Virginia.

The second category, “Congestion Areas of Concern,” acknowledges four areas that need close watching and further study to determine the magnitude of their congestion problems. These include: New England; the Phoenix-Tucson area; the Seattle-Portland area; and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The third type, “Conditional Congestion Areas,” identifies areas where congestion is not presently acute, but could become so if considerable new electric generation were to be built without associated transmission capacity. These areas include Montana-Wyoming; Dakotas-Minnesota; Kansas-Oklahoma; Illinois, Indiana, and Upper Appalachia; and the Southeast.

The NY Times emphasized how Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodma said, "If appropriate, I am empowered by the Energy Policy Act to designate certain corridors as national corridors." Which means the feds might be able to grant power companies permission to build lines - overriding state concerns.

It'll be interesting to see how NY State handles the issue. So far, Republican gubernatorial wannabe John Faso says he is opposed to building a power line through upstate to bring the Big Apple the juice it needs. We admit we don't know much about the state's energy policy, and, yes, have a power line would suck for many communities, but what we do know is that NYC provides more than half of the state's tax revenue.