Clean energy companies urge Congress to pass siting, permitting and transmission reform

Published on April 19, 2024 by Liz Carey

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On Wednesday, nearly 200 solar and storage companies urged Congressional leaders to improve permitting, project siting, transmission, and public lands access for solar and solar plus storage projects.

In a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), and House Minority Leaders Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), the companies recommended several reforms across the solar and storage value chain, including regulatory factors and the pace of transmission capacity buildout, citing market forecasts that show a range of policy and economic outcomes will determine the volume of solar deployment over the next decade.

“There are hundreds of billions of investment dollars that depend on our ability to get clean energy projects sited, permitted and efficiently connected to a modern transmission system,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said. “Lawmakers in both parties understand the importance of getting new energy infrastructure built quickly and efficiently. Now is the time for policy action to strengthen America’s energy industry and support local economies with jobs and private investments.”

The companies recommended Congressmembers modernize federal energy permitting, create project siting partnerships at all levels of government, build out transmission capacity, enable administration to reach public lands goals, and foster interagency collaboration.

The companies said if Congress fails to act on permitting and siting reform, communities could lose out on billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs.

“Permitting reform at the federal level and significant transmission system investment are essential to our national energy security,” Amanda Smith, vice president for external affairs for AES’ U.S. renewables business, said. “AES has more than 50 gigawatts of clean energy projects in our U.S. development pipeline. Many of these projects are ready to move forward and will generate critical economic investment and create jobs in local communities across the country, but they require swift permitting action and transmission infrastructure upgrades to ensure we can advance a clean, reliable energy future.”