NEW WIRES RULING IS A WINNER FOR NEW ENERGY
FERC Final Rule Reforms Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation
Laura DiMugno, 26 July 2011 (North American Windpower)
"After considering more than 200 sets of public comments, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved Order No. 1000, a final rule to reform its transmission-planning and cost-allocation requirements, with the ultimate goals of facilitating the development of new transmission facilities and lowering the costs of transmission services.
"The new rule subjects public utility transmission providers to a host of new requirements involving transmission planning and cost allocation. These improvements, the commission contends, will remove the barriers to the development of new transmission facilities."
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"Among the new transmission-planning requirements is that transmission providers must develop regional transmission plans and coordinate with neighboring transmission-planning regions...[as well as consider] the needs established by state and federal laws and regulations…The new rule also contains a provision designed to avoid delays resulting from issues such as siting and permitting. Transmission providers must develop a contingency plan to implement in the event that these delays affect their ability to maintain reliable service…[Most importantly,] the rule establishes requirements in regard to cost allocation, including the development of regional and interregional cost-allocation methods…
"…[FERC acknowledged that] changes in the electric power industry…[and especially] the increased demand for renewables…necessitate new and upgraded transmission lines…The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC)] projects in its 2010 long-term reliability assessment that approximately 60 percent of all new resources expected to be added to the bulk-power system by 2019 will be new wind and solar…NERC forecasts that there will be a 9% increase in the circuit miles of transmission added…[M]ore than 27% will address the need to integrate intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar…"