A serious bottleneck within the deployment of renewable vitality techniques is the lack of satisfactory transmission capability. In accordance with latest research cited by the U.S. Division of Vitality, the USA will “have to increase transmission techniques by 60% by 2030 and will have to triple these techniques by 2050” to fulfill rising demand for clear vitality. As well as, transmission infrastructure is more and more in danger of harm and destruction on account of local weather change.
Addressing the transmission bottleneck might flip, to a big extent, on the Federal Vitality Regulatory Fee’s (FERC) willingness to step in when states fail to behave on purposes for transmission amenities. Whereas states have major authority over siting electrical transmission amenities, part 216 of the Federal Energy Act (FPA) offers FERC “backstop” authority to approve the siting of sure interstate transmission amenities in areas designated as “nationwide curiosity electrical transmission corridors” when state authorities fail to behave for a interval and in different circumstances.
FERC’s backstop siting authority was lately expanded by the 2021 Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act. To implement its expanded statutory authority, FERC lately commenced a rulemaking on the allowing of interstate transmission amenities beneath part 216. This rulemaking has the potential to: (a) pace up the allowing of recent interstate electrical transmission amenities; and (b) make sure that federally permitted amenities are sited and constructed in a fashion that’s resilient to the impacts of local weather change.
Sabin Heart’s Feedback on FERC’s Proposed Rule
Final week, the Sabin Heart submitted feedback on FERC’s proposed rule. Our feedback tackle the next points:
- Timing of state and federal evaluate. We help FERC’s proposal to permit candidates to start the federal pre-filing course of – step one towards enabling FERC to train its backstop authority – instantly after the submitting of any state purposes for approval of transmission amenities. Underneath present FERC laws, candidates are required to attend one 12 months between after they file their state purposes and when the federal pre-filing course of can start. Eradicating the one-year ready interval will enhance effectivity and cut back delays.
- Standards for exercising backstop siting authority. We urged FERC to make clear the circumstances beneath which it is going to use its backstop siting authority. Particularly, FERC ought to present further steerage on the way it will consider whether or not a transmission challenge “is per the general public curiosity” beneath part 216(b)(3) of the FPA. Primarily based on judicial choices in related contexts, we argued that figuring out whether or not a challenge is per the general public curiosity would require FERC to judge the challenge’s results on vitality provide and costs, in addition to its environmental results. We additional argued that, when assessing environmental results, FERC should contemplate not solely a challenge’s native environmental impacts, but additionally its influence on greenhouse fuel emissions.
- Disclosure of greenhouse fuel impacts of transmission tasks. We additionally urged FERC to require explicitly that candidates disclose the greenhouse fuel impacts of transmission tasks, together with fairly foreseeable oblique results. Particularly, we urged FERC to make clear that the Air High quality and Environmental Noise Useful resource Report submitted by candidates should embrace an estimate of project-related greenhouse fuel emissions, together with upstream emissions related to electrical energy era at amenities served by the transmission challenge. As a result of these emissions are a fairly foreseeable oblique impact of the challenge, they should be evaluated beneath the Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act (NEPA). We additionally urged FERC to reveal when tasks will lead to web reductions of emissions.
- Disclosure and evaluation of climate-related dangers to transmission tasks. Lastly, we agreed with FERC’s proposal to require candidates to submit info in regards to the publicity of a challenge to local weather change threat and resilience to local weather change threat. Any such info is important for FERC to conduct a correct evaluate beneath NEPA, as clarified by the Council on Environmental High quality’s latest steerage. Nonetheless, we defined that FERC also needs to require candidates to submit details about how they assessed climate-related dangers and resilience in order that FERC can correctly consider the adequacy of candidates’ assessments and tackle any shortcomings.
FERC is accepting feedback by means of Monday, April 17. After reviewing feedback, FERC will problem a remaining rule.