NRDC coalition unveils website to demystify federal transmission oversight

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013

A coalition of clean energy and environmental groups today unveiled a website aimed at informing the public and policymakers about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an agency underpinning major energy decisions yet oftentimes cloaked in jargon and complex filings.

The coalition of 23 groups, known as the Sustainable FERC Project and housed within the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the website will also be a critical tool for lawmakers attempting to push a low-carbon energy future.

“Nearly all policies affecting electricity production and consumption — such as renewable energy and efficiency incentives, low-carbon standards and environmental protection laws — by definition impact use of the transmission grid,” Allison Clements, director of the coalition, said on the site. “FERC’s rules, which govern the operation of the grid, can either facilitate or create barriers to the success of these clean energy policies.”

The groups’ focus on the agency highlights a growing interest in FERC as more companies and homeowners are enlisted to green their energy use, with many turning to distributed generation and energy conservation.

The site features a library of FERC rules, comments that NRDC has filed with the agency on various topics and blog posts.

It also lays out the groups’ top priorities, including holding grid planners accountable for implementing FERC’s Order 1000 that requires more regional cooperation and alternatives to building new power lines in order to ensure wind and solar are continually, reliably and fairly integrated into the U.S. grid.