Coalition urges Congress to fund high-capacity transmission projects

Published on April 26, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

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A coalition of more than 40 organizations is urging Congress to provide robust funding for high-capacity transmission deployment and research through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fiscal Year 2024 budget.

The coalition – made up of clean energy organizations, environmental groups, developers, manufacturers, labor and consumer groups, and other nonprofits – sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee, highlighting the “pressing need for additional electric transmission infrastructure” in nearly all regions of the country.

That pressing need was spelled out in research developed by the DOE, including the DOE’s draft Transmission Needs Study.

“Research shows that to maximize the carbon emission reduction benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation will need to more than double the historical pace of electricity transmission expansion over the last decade in order to interconnect new clean energy resources and meet the growing demand from electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other electrification,” the coalition wrote in the letter.

The coalition members state that increased funding for the Grid Deployment Office (GDO), Office of Electricity (OE), and Energy Information Administration (EIA) “is critical to drive substantial clean energy deployment, unleash billions in private investment, create thousands of new jobs, deliver low-cost energy to benefit customers, and substantially reduce emissions.”

Specifically, the coalition is calling on Congress to consider the following:

• Funding for the GDO to support innovative efforts to address planning and permitting challenges to enable a resilient and reliable electricity system;
• Support for GDO to designate National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors on a route-specific, applicant-driven basis;
• Funding for the OE to help ensure our electric grid is resilient to increasingly severe weather, cyber, and physical attacks;
• Robust investment in the Transmission Reliability and Resilience and Applied Grid Transformation Solutions programs; and
• Additional funding for the EIA to upgrade its emissions data dashboard.

The letter was signed by more than 40 groups, including the American Clean Power Association, American Council on Renewable Energy, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BlueGreen Alliance, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Cypress Creek Renewables, Enel North America, Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Innergex Renewable Energy, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Unit 1245, Invenergy, Longroad Energy, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, NextEra Energy Transmission, Niskanen Center, Onward Energy, Pattern Energy, Pine Gate Renewables, Sol Systems, Solar Energy Industries Association, SOLV Energy, TPI Composites, VEIR, and Vestas-American Wind Technology.