Study after study over the past decade has concluded that expanding the U.S. transmission grid will play a key role in decarbonizing the country’s electricity system. But a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study indicates that a massive U.S.-wide transmission build-out could also slash the costs of reaching a zero-carbon grid with wind, solar and battery technologies that are cost-effective today.
An examination of the way the new Administration can use its Executive Authority to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy might well begin with a look at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Among several important functions, FERC regulates the nation’s wholesale power markets. President Biden recently appointed Commissioner Richard Glick, a longtime clean energy champion, as the agency’s new Chairman.
Today, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid released a new report, “Planning for the Future: FERC’s Opportunity to Spur More Cost-Effective Transmission Infrastructure,” produced by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG), recommends FERC undertake a comprehensive transmission planning rulemaking. The report describes the long and growing list of studies showing that grid capacity must expand two- or three-fold in coming years to efficiently and reliably integrate the evolving resource mix along with other evidence requiring FERC action, and explains FERC’s legal authority and responsibility to do so. The report proposes a comprehensive rulemaking to reform planning, cost allocation, oversight and governance of transmission, with the following specific recommendations to the Commission intended to stimulate discussion at the Commission and with stakeholders: