New FERC Transmission Rules Will Boost Clean, Reliable and Affordable Power Across the Nation

EDF Statement by Amanda Leland, Executive Director

May 13, 2024
Chandler Green, (803) 981-2211.

(WASHINGTON – May 13, 2024) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued two rules that aim to speed and strengthen the buildout of a modern and reliable electric transmission system across the country.

“These are commonsense steps because better electric transmission means real savings to ratepayers, cleaner air for communities, and more resilient and consistent power during storms and extreme heat.”

“A 21st century electric grid can deliver affordable, reliable and clean power – from areas where it is plentiful to communities where it is needed – and create new good-paying jobs across the country building a modern electricity superhighway. Well-planned transmission is key to reducing harmful climate pollution and providing healthier air for our children by bringing more affordable clean energy and battery storage onto our grid.

“Today’s actions will make transmission planning more efficient, forward-looking and better coordinated across states and power companies while ensuring meaningful engagement with communities. 

“Right now, hundreds of clean energy projects spurred by President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act are underway around the country. Modernizing our electricity grid will help unlock the full potential of these historic investments – good-paying jobs, lower energy costs, healthier air for our children, and a safer climate for our communities. The recently constructed Ten West Link transmission line, which will connect communities in Arizona and California with new solar and wind power projects, has shown us what’s possible.

“Today’s progress, along with a suite of key steps by the Biden administration to strengthen and modernize the grid, are building the critical foundation for everyone to have access to clean, affordable and reliable energy.”

Key Background: 

  • Currently, transmission constraints impose significant rising costs to customers, with transmission congestion increasing ratepayer bills by more than $20 billion dollars in 2022 – nearly double the five-year average
  • The lack of sufficient transmission has contributed to blackouts and increased costs during extreme weather events, including Winter Storm Uri, Winter Storm Elliot, and summer heat waves
  • The Department of Energy’s National Transmission Needs Study found a pressing need for additional transmission infrastructure throughout the country to support new clean energy sources as well as growing transportation and building electrification -- while remaining resilient in the face of extreme weather exacerbated by climate change.
  • However, the rate of new transmission development in recent years equals annual growth of only 1% of the existing system.
  • FERC’s Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation Rule will update the regional planning process by making it more forward-looking, identifying and selecting portfolios of transmission projects that create cost savings, reliability, and clean air benefits. It will require transmission planning regions to use a 20-year planning horizon with consideration of the changing electric system over that period, including retirements of existing generators and development of new generators and storage resources, demand driven by electrification of vehicles and buildings, and changing weather patterns.
  • FERC’s Interstate Transmission Siting Rule will create a process to ensure that interstate transmission projects with broad benefits are not delayed or blocked by states. The rule will implement the reforms to its “backstop” siting authority enacted in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, meaning FERC can step in where a state or local siting authority fails to act on or denies a permit to a transmission line within a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designated by the Department of Energy.

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