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FERC issues policy statement that could boost transmission infrastructure construction

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  • Jul 26, 2021
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month issued a policy statement that could make it easier for some transmission projects to get built.

In the statement, which it issued June 17, FERC clarified that states and transmission providers may enter into voluntary agreements to plan and pay for transmission facilities, saying that the agreements aren’t prohibited by either its rules and regulations or the Federal Power Act and that it encourages states and transmission providers thinking of using them to consult with its staff.

“To the extent that states, public utility transmission providers, or other stakeholders believe that the relevant tariffs impose barriers to Voluntary Agreements, the Commission is open to filings to remove or otherwise address those barriers,” FERC said in the statement.

FERC also said in the statement that developing cost-effective and reliable transmission facilities remains a priority for it and that voluntary agreements can help it do that by giving states “a way to prioritize, plan and pay for transmission facilities that, for whatever reason, are not being developed pursuant to the regional planning processes required by Order No. 1000.”

The statement didn’t get much coverage, probably because FERC issued it the same day that it and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners announced they had formed a joint federal-state task force to explore the issues that are hindering the development of the transmission infrastructure necessary to help the country transition to clean energy resources.

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