On May 12, 2022, the DOE released a “Notice of Intent and Request for Information Regarding Establishment of a Transmission Facilitation Program.” Comments are due June 13. Here’s the Federal Register publication:


One aspect that particularly concerns me is focus on NIETC transmission corridors, designated more than a decade ago, 2005 to be precise, and also containing a category of claimed need for “transmission across more than one state or transmission region.” That criteria would apply to almost every transmission project I’ve worked on, although most were segmented (so that the full extent of the project would not be considered or evaluated, DOH!):

What to comment on? Go to the above Federal Register link, and specific issues for comment start on page 6, “Questions for Requests for Information.” However, if you know of issues that should be considered but are not specified, have at it, put it down in detail.

I do get a little paranoid when they request comments on subjects like this — that “barriers to transmission” is one often raised by Beth Soholt, WOW (now as “Clean Grid Alliance” even more directly identifiable as transmission toadies), and here it is:

Comments are due by June 13, and should be sent to the “Federal eRulemaking Portal” (the only option), and must include the “agency name and identifier.” The agency is “Grid Deployment Office, Department of Energy.”

A decade ago or more, our state agencies eliminated consideration and scrutiny of “need” for transmission by making transmission a “regional” and market matter, making state permitting review nothing more than a rubber stamp. There’s never been a transmission proposal that state agencies didn’t love, rubber stamping everything that came their way. Now that fossil is to be shut down, that should free up immense capacity, but you’ll note that that doesn’t ever seem to be in the mix. Even NERC notes that fossil generation isn’t projected to decrease much, and locally, a good example is GRE’s walk-back on their promise to close Coal Creek, and instead “sold” the plant and transmission, and signed PPA to buy the Coal Creek generated energy.

Here’s NERC’s 2021 Long Term Reliability Assessment’s projection of MW of resources, note that coal doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon:

For full NERC report: https://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ra/Reliability%20Assessments%20DL/NERC_LTRA_2021.pdf

If shuttering down fossil is not incorporated into the transmission capacity “need,” exactly what are they basing the “need” claim on? Inquiring minds want to know.

Anyway, do check out the request for comments and let them have it. There are a many specific issues presented that has something for everyone!