New DOE Program Will Expand, Strengthen Electric Grid While Reducing Pollution

April 25, 2024
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718,

(Washington, D.C. – April 25, 2024) The Biden administration today finalized rules that will expand and strengthen the U.S. electric grid while reducing pollution.

The U.S. Department of Energy just unveiled the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorizations and Permits (CITAP) program.

“We applaud the Biden administration for this streamlined and efficient process for reviewing and approving transmission projects,” said Ted Kelly, EDF Senior Attorney for Federal Energy. “Expanding the transmission grid is a necessary step in an efficient transition to a cleaner grid – one that is powered by renewable energy and batteries, and that ensures reliability during increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events. Transmission buildout can also reduce rates, and thus save American families money, and can support the growing demand for electricity for electric vehicles, electrified building, manufacturing facilities and data centers.”

The CITAP program establishes a streamlined and coordinated process that will accelerate the review and permitting of electric transmission projects and simplify the review of upgrades to existing transmission lines.

The program eliminates the inefficient, siloed multi-agency federal review process for electric transmission facilities, which often resulted in repetitive reviews and extended timelines, and replaces it with a coordinated permitting process with firm, achievable timelines. CITAP designates the U.S. Department of Energy as the lead agency to coordinate all federal agency reviews, as well as to coordinate directly with state agencies in any state-led review and permitting processes.

Crucially, CITAP establishes a strict and enforceable two-year permitting decision deadline, which will shave years off current federal permitting timelines.

Recognizing the vital role and responsibility that communities play in the energy transition, CITAP also requires transmission developers to meet and work with local host communities and stakeholders early in the process and to develop and implement a robust and enforceable community engagement plan.

“The CITAP program will ensure robust evaluation of project impacts while providing developers and investors with the certainty of a predictable process and schedule,” said Kelly. “By putting engagement with key local stakeholders, including tribal governments and local communities, at the start of the process, the rule will also ensure that they have a meaningful opportunity for input that can shape final project details. In addition, DOE’s action on grid upgrades will accelerate the deployment of advanced conductors and other modern technologies, improving the efficiency of the grid in appropriate areas more quickly and with a lower cost and impact than building new lines.”

In a separate action that will support significant upgrades to the capacity of the U.S. transmission system, DOE enabled an accelerated environmental review for upgrades to existing transmission lines and for the installation of new transmission lines within existing transmission rights-of-way. Upgrades to existing transmission lines, such as advanced reconductoring, not only increase the capacity and overall efficiency of the grid much more quickly than building new transmission lines but also generally have little or no impact on the environment or nearby communities.

The Biden Administration also announced a goal of upgrading 100,000 miles of transmission lines over the next five years, supported by these regulatory actions as well as funding from the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership (GRIP) program authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Read more from the Biden administration here, and more from EDF about modernizing the electric grid here.

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