The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) have formed a joint federal-state task force that will explore electric transmission-related issues to identify and realize the benefits that transmission can provide while ensuring that the costs are allocated efficiently and fairly.

The efficient development of new transmission infrastructure is essential as the nation continues to transition to clean energy resources, the groups say. Federal and state regulators will be called upon to address numerous issues, including how to plan and pay for new transmission infrastructure and how to navigate shared federal-state regulatory authority and processes.

“Our partnership with FERC on this task force presents a much-needed opportunity for state and federal regulators to work collaboratively on transmission issues that affect all stakeholders,” says NARUC President Paul Kjellander.  “Our shared authority over how to plan and pay for transmission infrastructure and the rapid pace of the energy transition have made such collaboration an imperative for all of us.”

FERC’s order requests NARUC to nominate up to 10 state regulators to join FERC commissioners on the task force. All task force meetings will be open to the public and will use a dedicated FERC docket for this process to provide stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to comment for the record.

The task force will seek to:

  • Identify barriers that inhibit planning and development of optimal transmission necessary to achieve federal and state policy goals, as well as potential solutions to those barriers;
  • Explore potential bases for one or more states to use FERC-jurisdictional transmission planning processes to advance their policy goals, including multi-state goals;
  • Explore opportunities for states to voluntarily coordinate to identify, plan and develop regional transmission solutions;
  • Review FERC rules and regulations regarding planning and cost allocation of transmission projects and potentially identify recommendations for reforms;
  • Examine barriers to the efficient and expeditious interconnection of new resources through the FERC-jurisdictional interconnection processes, as well as potential solutions to those barriers; and
  • Discuss mechanisms to ensure that transmission investment is cost-effective, including approaches to enhance transparency and improve oversight of transmission investment including, potentially, through enhanced federal-state coordination.

“More transmission is essential to a clean energy future, and the federal government and states must closely coordinate to ensure that the future grid keeps pace with affordable, reliable, renewable energy and storage,” says the American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) Gabe Tabak.

“ACP appreciates FERC and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners taking key steps toward coordinating state and federal roles on transmission planning and cost allocation, and looks forward to building upon today’s actions.”

Photo by Chris Hunkeler, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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