ORIGINAL REPORTING: Congress Studying New Energy’s Need For Connection
House Hearing on Transmission Hits California Live Wires
Herman K. Trabish, May 25, 2021 (California Current)
Editor’s note: Transmission continues to be the critical incomplete part of the New Energy delivery equation.
Barriers to transmission needed for clean energy growth in California and across the country can be overcome, grid advocates told the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis May 20.
Wildfires and freezes “have left Americans in the dark and in danger just in the last four months,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), the committee chair, said in opening the session. Drought and new fires are raising fears of “another long and brutal fire season” in the West, she added. A key solution is modernizing the electric grid. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the system a C-minus rating.
U.S. power sector emissions “were 40% below 2005 levels and 40% of electricity came from carbon-free resources” in 2020, Edison Electric Institute General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Senior VP for Clean Energy Emily Sanford Fisher testified. That will continue, driven by falling natural gas and renewables costs, new technologies, customer demand, and federal and state regulations and policies. But continued growth depends on a modernized transmission system.
Planning, permitting, and cost allocation are the three major barriers to a renewed transmission system. New rules and regulations can lower them, ITC Holdings Corp President/CEO Linda Apsey told the committee.
Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can require “transmission-first” planning to deploy or upgrade transmission where renewable resources are abundant, Apsey said. That would replace the current practice of building transmission for each project, driving growth by reducing transmission and renewables developers’ risks and costs.
New rules also can streamline permitting and siting processes without undermining environmental protections, she added. Third, FERC can implement cost allocation policies that spread costs fairly to developers who benefit, she said… click here for more