Hear from state attorneys general about why transmission reform is a critical aspect of climate response and what’s at stake, learn about the broad reform needs in this space, and keep track of opportunities to engage in pushing towards more equitable transmission policy.
AGs Explain What's at Stake
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
“We have no time to waste in addressing this crisis. [We need to start] building new, equitable, resilient, and efficient electric transmission on a big scale, and fast. … These changes need to be transparent, bold, and center the people most deeply impacted by the climate crisis.”
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
“To reach our state and federal climate and other goals, we will need substantial new transmission infrastructure. … Attorneys general have been active participants before FERC, and we are working now to make sure any new energy infrastructure is efficient, resilient, and affordable.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
“I can imagine few things that would be more transformational and beneficial for the consumers of my state than reforming the way we transmit energy. It’ll create jobs, improve public health, reduce costs, and give us the energy reliability we’ve been demanding for years.”
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
“FERC’s new focus on transmission reform presents an opportunity for finding creative ways to ameliorate the impacts of our reliance on fossil fuel plants in [low-income and majority minority] communities. … Promoting clean energy generally will lessen the health effects of fossil fuel-based energy sources.”
Transmission in Focus
In June 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued (1) a proposed rule to address interconnection procedures; and (2) two proposals to address grid reliability against extreme weather.
In Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements, FERC proposes reforms to address the delays and costs that new generation and storage projects can face in attempting to connect to the grid. Aspects of the proposal include: (1) changes to the study process and new readiness requirements for customers; (2) deadlines for processing interconnection studies with associated penalties for failing to meet deadlines; (3) the incorporation of technological advancements; and (4) updated modeling and performance requirements.
In Transmission System Planning Performance Requirements for Extreme Weather, FERC proposes to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop modifications to reliability standards around transmission planning for extreme heat and cold weather. And in One-Time Reports on Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessments, FERC proposes to direct transmission providers to submit a report on their approach to extreme weather vulnerability and risk mitigation. This is an information gathering activity and would not require new assessments.
In April 2022, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection. This proposal addresses several pieces of the inquiry FERC launched in its earlier advanced notice in this proceeding.
The proposal includes:
- Forward-looking regional transmission planning on a 20-year planning horizon (at minimum) and including accounting for extreme weather events.
- More robust consideration of dynamic line ratings and advanced power flow control devices.
- A significant role for states in cost allocation for transmission facilities.
- Prohibition of the construction-work-in-progress incentive for facilities selected through long-term regional transmission planning.
- A federal right of first refusal for facilities selected in a regional transmission plan, as long as the incumbent transmission developer established joint ownership with unaffiliated, nonincumbent developers.
- Enhanced transparency requirements for transmission providers.
Our colleagues at the Institute for Policy Integrity at NYU Law provide a summary of the proposal.
In July 2021, FERC issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking called Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection. FERC’s efforts in this area are likely to be key to facilitating the cost-effective and efficient buildout of the transmission system needed to enable a cleaner, affordable energy future.
Customer demand, state and federal policies, and cost competitiveness have driven the country’s power generation mix towards cleaner technologies. We are shifting from large resources sited near population centers to renewables, which are often located far from population centers, based on sun or wind patterns. Current transmission policies have led to backlogs in adding new renewable generation to the grid. Serious reform is needed to access these resources in a cost-effective and efficient way. As FERC Chair Richard Glick and Commissioner Allison Clements said in a statement: “With the clean energy transition gaining steam, we can either continue with the status quo, trying to meet the transmission needs of the future by building out the grid in a myopic, piecemeal fashion, or we can start holistically and proactively planning for those future transmission needs.”
In its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, FERC asked for comment on potential reforms in broad areas, including how costs of new transmission and upgrades should be allocated, whether the planning process should take into account likely future generation, and what kind of oversight there should be. FERC’s news release and staff presentation that accompanied issuance of the advanced notice provide additional information. This is the beginning of a longer process that will have further opportunities for stakeholder and public engagement.
TBA (100 days after publication)
TBA (60 days after publication)
August 26, 2022
September 19, 2022
November 30, 2021
November 30, 2021
November 15, 2021
October 12, 2021
July 27, 2021
From FERC & DOE
Notice Extending Nominations for Technical Conference • FERC • 6/10/22
See Older Items
Transmission Reform in the Media
Summary of FERC Interconnection NOPR | Troutman Pepper • 6/27/22
DOE launches grid interconnection initiative to cut ‘gridlock’ hampering clean energy progress | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 6/2/22
MISO proposes giving incumbent utilities certain transmission projects in pending $10.4B buildout | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 5/26/22
Interior approves big power line for renewables in U.S. West | E&E News • Jason Plautz • 5/27/22
See Older News Items
- ‘More, more, more’: Biden’s clean grid hinges on power lines | E&E News • Peter Behr • 5/23/22
- Largest U.S. grid operator outlines major renewables shift | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 5/13/22
- DOE plans to buy capacity on proposed power lines in first step for $2.5B transmission funding program | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 5/11/22
- FERC, state regulators eye options for clearing up interconnection ‘quagmire,’ allocating upgrade costs | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 5/9/22
- Can FERC convince utilities to build modern transmission systems? | Utility Dive • Ari Peskoe • 5/4/22
- SunZia, NV Energy, Pinnacle West-Berkshire transmission projects advance across the Southwest | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 5/4/22
- FERC rejects MISO proposal to let utilities profit from upgrades for merchant HVDC lines | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 5/3/22
- The fight for a national clean energy transmission system emerges on three fronts | Utility Dive • Herman K. Trabish • 5/3/22
- Biden admin urges court to revive Midwest transmission project • E&E News • Niina H. Farah • 5/2/22
- What’s in FERC’s 500-Page Transmission NOPR? A (Relatively) Quick Guide • Medium • Policy Integrity at NYU Law • 4/27/22
- N.Y. utility’s $1B plan targets offshore wind’s grid problem • E&E News • David Iaconangelo • 4/19/22
- Cities step up to save $2.5B Midwest power line | E&E News • Jeffrey Tomich • 4/7/22
- MISO says grid expansion benefits far exceed $10B cost | E&E News • Jeffrey Tomich • 3/30/22
- FERC lowers PG&E’s transmission return on equity to 9.3% in move that could affect national build-out | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 3/23/22
- Transmission, reliability and gas system decarbonization top of mind for state utility regulators in 2022 | Utility Dive • Michelle Solomon and Hadley Tallackson • 2/23/22
- FERC and transmission: CO2, costs and ‘elephants in the room’ | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 2/17/22
- FERC, state task force eye benefits of considering transmission project portfolios, ending ‘silos’ | UtilityDive • Ethan Howland • 2/17/22
- New Calif. $30B transmission plan eyes renewables surge | E&E News • Camille Bond • 2/3/22
- SPP, MISO identify 7 cross-seam transmission projects that could unlock up to 53 GW of new generation | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 2/2/22
- FERC should loosen incumbent transmission owners’ grip on planning, R Street panelists say | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 1/28/22
- States unwind FERC plans for grid expansion | E&E News • Jeffrey Tomich • 1/19/22
- New state law seeks to streamline electric transmission projects, though critics worry about competition and costs | MiBiz • Andy Balaskovitz • 1/18/22
- Building a Better Grid Initiative to Upgrade and Expand the Nation’s Electric Transmission Grid to Support Resilience, Reliability, and Decarbonization — Department of Energy, Notice of intent
- Details emerge about DOE, FERC grid plans for clean energy | E&E News • Peter Behr, Miranda Willson • 1/13/22
- Mini Guide on Transmission Siting: State Agency Decision Making | National Council on Electricity Policy • William H. Smith Jr. • 12/2021
- Biden Aims to Cut Approval Times for New Power Lines | Wall Street Journal •. Katherine Blunt and Jennifer Hiller • 12/30/21
- MISO proposal to let utilities profit from upgrades for HVDC lines sparks debate at FERC | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 12/22/21
- Grid operator MISO’s transmission plan would split its region in two | Canary Media • Andy Kowalczyk • 12/7/21
- East Coast Offshore Wind Threatened by Transmission Bottlenecks | Bloomberg Law • Daniel Moore • 12/7/21
- ‘Elephant in the room’: FERC grid plan fuels landowner fight | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 12/1/21
- 8 states, DC urge FERC to reject EEI, Eversource call to drop competition for transmission projects | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 11/29/21
- FERC balks at PJM utilities’ proposal to profit on network upgrades | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 11/22/21
- FERC warned renewables planning can strand grid assets | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 11/16/21
- $1B transmission smack down may upend Northeast renewables | E&E News • David Iaconangelo • 11/12/21
- FERC, 10 states weigh transmission overhaul to unlock clean power | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 11/11/21
- FERC kicks off 3‑year task force examining transmission issues, state-federal divide | Utility Dive • Robert Walton • 11/11/21
- FERC chair on transmission, environmental justice, NEPA | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 10/28/21
- MISO, ISO-NE execs stress need for new power supply planning framework at FERC reliability meeting | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 10/1/21
- N.Y. announces 2 major power lines in push for 100% clean power | E&E News • David Iaconangelo • 9/28/21
- Transmission costs ‘killing’ renewables — report | E&E News • David Iaconangelo • 9/11/21
- FERC’s Clements looks west for grid reforms | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 9/8/21
March 24, 2022 — Cleaning up the electricity grid means building more electricity transmission for clean energy sources. But large-scale transmission projects can be held up over the contentious issue of “cost allocation”...
October 28, 2021 — The past year has shown how the climate emergency and severe weather test the transmission system. The current transmission system is failing these tests...
Building the Grid of the Future: A Discussion of Transmission Reform
The State Impact Center hosted webinar that gave an overview of FERC’s “Building for the Future” advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and discussed how the proceeding relates to state clean energy goals, customer costs, environmental justice, and more.
Energizing Your FERC Practice
New to FERC? The State Impact Center hosted a webinar that gave an overview of the nuts and bolts of engaging in FERC proceedings, highlighted FERC’s major substantive areas of responsibility, and discussed different ways to advocate in front of the Commission.