Transmission Planning Rule Will Accelerate Clean Energy Transition, Save Families Money, Increase Resilience to Climate Impacts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new plan from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) lays out a path toward a clean energy transition that will make the energy grid more resilient for communities, cost-effective for households, and beneficial for wildlife. The transmission planning and cost allocation rule is the FERC’s first step in over a decade to modernize and build out an electrical grid that can meet growing energy demands and the needs of the climate crisis, while ensuring that costs are fairly distributed among benefitting states.

“The pressures on our country’s energy infrastructure are high – energy demands are growing, while increasingly severe weather events and changing energy needs are straining already overburdened systems,” said Veronica Ung-Kono, a staff attorney and clean energy transmission policy specialist at the National Wildlife Federation. “A resilient and well-planned electrical grid is critical for ensuring that we can transition to clean energy, while meeting the energy needs of our economy, communities, and wildlife and mitigating the impacts of worsening climate disasters. This plan will allow lawmakers, states, and grid operators to ensure access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy, both now and for generations to come.”

According to a study from the Department of Energy, the United States must double its existing regional transmission capacity to meet its clean energy goals by 2035. The planning rule will require transmission developers to consider proven and cost-effective grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) that ensure grid operators can maximize existing grid infrastructure before building new infrastructure, reducing impacts on wildlife and communities.

The rule also requires transmission planning to plan at least 20 years into the future in order to identify long-term needs and requires benefits such as reliability, cost savings, and reduced congestion to be considered in transmission planning. The required benefits will ensure that decisions by regulators are fair and based on a standard analysis among all regions.

The rule will also foster collaboration among states by allocating costs, ensuring that benefiting states contribute to transmission costs while empowering them to play a central role in planning and financing transmission facilities.

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