FERC seeks to establish Federal-State task force to support US transmission development

FERC wants to increase cooperation between federal and state actors. Image: Ryan McKnight/Flickr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this week presented a draft order aimed at establishing a joint Federal-State task force on electric transmission.

As federal and state regulators share authority over transmission policy, the draft aims to explore how they can cooperate to develop new transmission infrastructure and address existing transmission issues in the US.

Topics the task force may consider include examining barriers to planning and the interconnection of new resources, the potential for voluntary state coordination, reviewing rules and regulations and exploring investment mechanisms to ensure value for money.

The “first-of-its kind” task force would be comprised of FERC commissioners as well as representatives from 10 state commissions, who would be nominated by National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC).

After the nominations are made, FERC would set a time and location for the first public meeting, expected in Autumn of this year.

To reach President Biden’s 100% clean energy goal, the US must add hundreds of gigawatts of solar and energy storage capacity, said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state and regulatory affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We must also find a way to connect this load to the grid and deliver it to customers. Transmission is going to be a critical part of this process,” he added.

In January, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid released a report that advocated comprehensive transmission planning reform, including states in the process.