The Green Power Superhighways report on transmission, authored by AWEA and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), argues that federal leadership is needed to speed the process of building new interstate transmission lines. The reason for this is that when it comes to interstate lines, states always get bogged down in the question of who benefits the most and should pay the most for the new transmission.
Here’s a statistic that vividly demonstrates the problem:
Between 2000 and 2007, 14 interstate transmission lines were built, totaling 668 miles in length. During that same time period, FERC [the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] approved 11,492 miles of natural gas pipelines, or 17 times as much.
Transmission reform is urgently needed, not only to take advantage of America’s vast wind resources, but to strengthen the utility system’s reliability and avoid costly blackouts. Hopefully, this low-profile but critical national infrastructure issue can be addressed soon in comprehensive energy and climate legislation.