Tracking Transmission Reform
State Impact Center / March 24, 2023
This resource was launched October 29, 2021. It was last updated March 24, 2023.
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
Then 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.”– Then-Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
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.”– Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
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.”– Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
Then 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.”– Then-Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
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 a notice of proposed rulemaking titled 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 a notice of proposed rulemaking titled 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 a notice of proposed rulemaking titled 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 April 2022 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.
November 14, 2022
October 13, 2022
October 6, 2022
Technical Conference on Transmission Planning & Cost Management
September 19, 2022
Transmission Planning & Cost Allocation NOPR Reply Comment Deadline (Extended)
August 30, 2022
November 30, 2021
November 30, 2021
November 15, 2021
October 12, 2021
July 27, 2021
Transmission Planning and Cost Management & Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission
Post-Technical Conference Comments
Improvements to Generator Interconnection Procedures and Agreements
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) - Comments
Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) - Reply Comments
CT, MD, MA, RI, DC - Reply Comments on FERC's "Building for the Future" NOPR
September 19, 2022
Michigan AG Nessel - Reply Comments on FERC's "Building for the Future" NOPR
September 19, 2022
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) - Comments
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) - Reply Comments
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) - Comments
Ohio AG Yost - Comments on FERC's "Building for the Future" ANOPR
October 12, 2021
From FERC & DOE
Draft DOE Study Identifies Pressing National Electric Transmission Needs
Department of Energy
February 24, 2023
DOE Proposes New Efficiency Standards For Distribution Transformers
Department of Energy
December 28, 2022
National Transmission Planning Study Webinar
Department of Energy
October 21, 2022
See Older Items
- Grid and Transmission Programs Conductor • DOE • 9/2022
- FERC Proposes Interconnection Reforms to Address Queue Backlogs • FERC • 6/16/22
- FERC Acts to Boost Grid Reliability Against Extreme Weather Conditions • FERC • 6/16/22
- Notice Extending Nominations for Technical Conference • FERC • 6/10/22
- Presentation | Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection • FERC • 4/21/22
- Queued Up…But in Need of Transmission • DOE • 4/2022
Transmission Reform in the Media
DOE finds ‘pressing’ transmission needs, with interregional links offering the biggest benefits
March 6, 2023
The U.S. Has Billions for Wind and Solar Projects. Good Luck Plugging Them In.
The New York Times • Brad Plumer
February 23, 2023
Brattle Consultants Highlight the Benefits of Collaborative Planning Process for Offshore Wind Transmission in New Report
The Brattle Group
January 24, 2023
See Older News Items
- Value of new transmission jumps in 2022 on high power prices, extreme weather: Berkeley Lab report | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 2/8/23
- Environmental Groups Release Roadmap to Accelerate Transmission Infrastructure | WE ACT for Environmental Justice • 12/15/22
- Transmission tops Dems’ last-gasp climate agenda | E&E News • Nick Sobczyk • 12/15/22
- Court hands win to renewables in FERC transmission case | E&E News • Niina H. Farah • 12/5/22
- Why utilities resist simple upgrades to boost renewables | E&E News • Peter Behr • 11/23/22
- Regulators debate utilities’ role in transmission projects | E&E News • Jeffrey Tomich • 11/17/22
- Small transmission projects hindering clean energy, FERC told | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 11/16/22
- Shift to Clean Energy Grid Presents Challenges for US Official | Bloomberg Law • Daniel Moore • 10/24/22
- States press FERC for independent monitors on transmission planning, spending as Southern Co. balks | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 10/7/22
- Lawmakers tell FERC to scrap anti-competitive grid plan | E&E News • Nico Portuondo • 10/6/22
- Can a new FERC grid planning proposal succeed in the South? | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 10/6/22
- For offshore wind aspirations to become reality, transmission hurdles must be cleared | New Jersey Monitor • Robert Zullo • 10/4/22
- Transmission development key to Inflation Reduction Act’s climate potential: report | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 9/26/22
- States Balk at Permitting Plan’s ‘National Interest’ Power Lines | Bloomberg Law • Daniel Moore • 9/16/22
- Sharp views from Enel, WIRES, others on FERC’s transmission planning proposal shared at forum | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 8/19/22
- Justice Department, FTC urge FERC to expand competition for building new transmission, deny utility exclusivity | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 8/18/22
- DOE pushes FERC on transmission, energy justice | E&E News • Miranda Wilson • 8/18/22
- MISO benefit-cost analysis of $10.3B transmission plan offers framework for national model: ACORE report | Utility Dive • Ethan Howland • 8/10/22
- Podcast: When transmission planning actually goes well | Volts Podcast • David Roberts • 8/8/22
- Report: Empirical Estimates of Transmission Value using Locational Marginal Prices | Berkley Lab - Energy Technologies Area • Dev Millstein, et al. • 8/2022
- MISO approves large grid expansion, paving way for renewables | E&E News • Miranda Willson • 7/26/22
- BLM approves construction of Ariz.-to-Calif. power line | E&E News • Scott Streater • 7/14/22
- 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
- ‘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
Insights by Center Staff and Advisory Council Members
Unjust, Unreasonable, Unwelcome: EJ Barriers at FERC
Sasha George Ruiz, Jessica Bell | January 26, 2023
A look at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's recent commitment to prioritizing environmental justice, where there is still room for improvement, and opportunities for public engagement...
Get a GRIP on DOE Funding
Jessica Bell | November 10, 2022
The acronym soup of federal laws that will turbocharge clean energy is ready for primetime. This week, we’ll take a look at the Infrastructure Law, signed last year (sometimes referred to as the BIL or the IIJA)...
The "Goldilocks" Approach to Transmission Cost Allocation
Gabe Tabak | March 24, 2022
Cleaning up the grid means building electricity transmission for clean energy sources, which can be held up over the contentious issue of “cost allocation”...
Tricks, Treats, and Transmission: Bringing Equity to Grid Planning
Jessica Bell, Howard Crystal | October 28, 2021
The past year has shown how the climate emergency and severe weather test the transmission system. The current system is failing these tests...
Blog Series on FERC's Interconnection NOPR
Rao Konidena, Advisory Council Member | Renewable Energy World | 2022
Part 1: Breaking down the FERC interconnection NOPR (June 29)
Part 2: How FERC plans to speed up interconnection queues (June 30)
Part 3: FERC proposes to standardize interconnection procedures (July 1)
Generating Change for a Just Grid
A discussion of important changes underway at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on how the electric transmission system is planned and who pays. Hear from FERC Commissioner Willie Phillips, FERC staff, and an expert panel talk about the role for states, equity, and decarbonization in these transmission changes, and how you can get involved.
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.