States Finding New Ways To Accelerate Transmission Development

Source: National Governors Association • Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WASHINGTON—The nation’s governors are advancing new ways to develop transmission that will bring more renewable energy into the market and support businesses in their states, according to an issue brief released today by the National Governors Association (NGA). State Strategies for Accelerating Transmission Development for Renewable Energy, and the accompanying white paper, examines successful state efforts governors can use to accelerate transmission development for renewable energy to help meet a variety of energy diversity, economic development and environmental goals.

“Governors are making significant progress in developing new transmission that helps diversify our nation’s energy portfolio and support economic growth and job creation,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “Through new and creative ways to expedite the planning and construction of electric transmission lines, and by working more closely together, states can help continue that progress and achieve economic success in the future.”

Over the next decade, demand for electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal will drive the need for new transmission capacity. Transmission developers have proposals to meet that new demand, but the planning, siting, financing and cost allocation of transmission lines present challenges to governors and other policymakers. Generation facilities that are fueled by renewable energy resources are often remotely located, and building transmission lines that bring the electricity they generate to market can require the involvement of multiple state and federal players, increasing those challenges.

To help overcome those obstacles, states are developing strategies to improve project coordination and reduce uncertainty and delays in bringing renewable energy to market. These strategies, many of which are not specific to renewable energy and can be used to accelerate transmission development generally, include:

· Participate in existing interconnection-wide planning forums;

· Plan and site renewable energy generation and transmission concurrently;

· Coordinate interstate siting with regional partners;

· Partner with federal agencies;

· Develop centralized infrastructure to support further expansion;

· Create and use infrastructure financing authorities; and

· Develop cost allocation methods for renewable energy projects.

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