Energy industry coalition urges Congress to streamline infrastructure projects

Published on March 17, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

A coalition consisting of groups representing U.S. energy, manufacturing, construction and environmental workers sent a letter to Congressional leaders this week, asking them to include transmission projects in infrastructure legislation and streamline electrical infrastructure expansion.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), WIRES and other groups signed the letter and sent it to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
(D-NY), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of (R-WI) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“Just like highways and bridges, transmission is infrastructure that keeps the U.S. economy moving – and growing,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said. “Investment in new transmission lines will modernize the U.S. grid and deliver more clean energy to population centers. This investment also will help to keep the lights on and costs low for American homeowners and businesses. Recognizing transmission as essential infrastructure is another way Congress and the administration can keep promises of advancing all forms of energy while growing U.S. energy independence.”

Improving the electrical grid will add over 150,000 jobs annually and save consumers nearly $50 billion per year, Jim Hoecker, counsel to WIRES and former FERC chairman, said.

“Modernizing, expanding, and protecting the electric grid is a national priority,” NEMA President and CEO Kevin Cosgriff said. “Upgrading and extending the more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the United States is necessary in its own right to ensure that low-cost and reliable electricity continues to flow to the nation’s businesses, hospitals, schools, and homes. But importantly, it also supports high-quality construction and manufacturing jobs. Unlike other infrastructure projects, the primary obstacle facing electrical infrastructure tends not to be a lack of federal funding. Rather, labyrinthine transmission siting and permitting processes are major barriers slowing grid investments.”