BIP prods the grid

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Jigar Shah, head of the Energy Department’s loan office, is excited about the new siting authority the bipartisan infrastructure package granted the department, saying it could encourage the private sector to invest more in long-distance transmission. The law grants DOE authority to designate an area a national interest electric corridor, allowing FERC to bulldoze past state agencies to help build out long-distance transmission that could connect renewable generation to urban centers.

“I would say that all the new authorities that we have are enough to really allow the private sector to move with speed and scale” to invest in a new transmission system, said Shah during a Bipartisan Policy Center webinar on Tuesday.

But taking away transmission authority is unsurprisingly deeply unpopular among the states, and Shah acknowledged fear of souring relationships with state authorities could give the private sector pause before backing ambitious interstate projects. He urged the private sector to engage more with DOE to make sure its implementation of the infrastructure package is done effectively. “I’m not going to take responsibility if the private sector doesn’t show up,” he added.