Solar and Storage Industry Calls for Stronger Transmission Planning Rules to Meet the Clean Energy Boom Ahead

September 12, 2022

Yesterday the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) filed comments in response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on transmission reforms that will meet the needs of a rapidly changing energy mix and better consider the systemwide benefits of transmission assets.

Following is a statement from Sean Gallagher, vice president of state and regulatory affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on the organization’s comments:

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s proposed rule to reform the transmission planning process is a good first step, but to be effective and meet the clean energy boom that’s around the corner, FERC must put more prescriptive rules in place for transmission planning.

“While flexibility is helpful in some instances, FERC’s proposed rules are too permissive and don’t require utilities to incorporate the full range of factors affecting their transmission plans. Without bold policies, we will be missing out on a major opportunity to adequately prepare for surging clean energy demand.

“SEIA recommended a number of changes to the proposed rule, including requirements for transmission providers to take into consideration factors that drive clean energy supply and demand. This could include state, municipal, and corporate clean energy goals, power plant closure announcements, interconnection requests that are nearly complete, and other items that would directly affect clean energy growth.

“In addition, SEIA recommended that transmission planning scenarios extend to 40 years, which would better reflect the full range of long-term benefits transmission facilities and lines can provide to the grid and surrounding communities over the lifetime of these assets.

“And finally, FERC proposed a number of items that could be considered when evaluating systemwide transmission benefits. We urge FERC to adopt all twelve of those benefits and recommend measuring emission reductions as a benefit. Climate change is an existential threat to all American communities and extreme weather remains one of the biggest threats to electric reliability.”

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