ORIGINAL REPORTING: Does transmission planning make transmission building too hard?
Has FERC's landmark transmission planning effort made transmission building harder? Some say Order 1000 planning is too costly, but others say a need for wires is coming.
Herman K. Trabish, July 17, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Current and former FERC commissioners, along with two of the largest regional grid operators, are increasingly critical of Order 1000 — a landmark Obama era order on competitive transmission siting — and are pushing a new look at the initiative. Former commissioner Tony Clark’s April whitepaper argued the red tape added to the planning process by Order 1000 has kept some developers from completing new projects. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff, who led the commission when it approved Order 1000 in 2011, said the changes in the national power system since the order was put in place have delayed its effectiveness. It would be better to let the system catch up to what Order 1000 offers, he told Utility Dive. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, a member of the current FERC, agreed with Wellinghoff but told Utility Dive there are pathways by which Clark's objections can be addressed and added that parts of the order are worth taking a new look at.
Order 1000 was issued in July 2011, a result of concerns about emerging demands on the nation's aging power infrastructure. Load flattened after the 2008 economic recession, but by 2011, it was clear transmission was inadequate to serve the renewables generation beginning to replace outdated fossil fuel-burning power plants. The order was intended to drive a transmission building renaissance. It revised rules on transmission planning, on allocating costs for transmission, and on competitive bidding. New transmission has come online in the interim, but 70% of the system is still over 25 years old and replacing it remains a challenge. Order 1000 has been "a mixed success, with less change-making than we hoped for," Commissioner LaFleur said. But its benefits may end up outweighing its costs over the longer term, as technologies advance and the power sector moves to renewable and distributed generation… click here for more