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Transmission Line Overview

Transmission Line Overview

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Published by CSGovts
One solution to the growing challenge of siting interstate transmission lines may be the formation of an interstate compact governing transmission line siting. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted states advance congressional consent to create regional interstate compacts and CSG, through the National Center for Interstate Compacts, and with the assistance of a drafting team comprised of subject matter experts has developed model language for state consideration.
One solution to the growing challenge of siting interstate transmission lines may be the formation of an interstate compact governing transmission line siting. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted states advance congressional consent to create regional interstate compacts and CSG, through the National Center for Interstate Compacts, and with the assistance of a drafting team comprised of subject matter experts has developed model language for state consideration.

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Published by: CSGovts on Nov 13, 2012
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12/04/2012

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Transmission Line Overview
 O 0 
 The Council of State Governments
CAPITOL
rrc
Interstate CompaCts
 TcONcl Of TT gOVrNNT
Background and Need
The siting of interstate transmission lines has longbeen a problem that has vexed both states and thefederal government. With the expected growth inelectricity demand, coupled with the need to bringrenewable energy to market and the necessity toenhance and secure the nation’s energy infrastruc-ture, added transmission capacity has never beenmore apparent. National need and parochial inter-ests, however, often do not align and have led to anunderdeveloped and overstressed electricity trans-mission system.Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the FederalEnergy Regulatory Commission was granted back-stop authority to site transmission lines in certainNational Interest Electric Transmission Corridorsas designated by the Department of Energy. Thus,if DOE determined that a specic geographicalregion was experiencing heavy electric congestionand in need of relief—and subsequently designatedas an national interest corridor—the act granted theregulatory commission authority to site transmissionlines if a state or states in that region unnecessarilydelayed or denied requests to site transmission lines.This authority has been ercely contested by thestates, which see the siting of transmission lines aspurely a state’s right. In fact, in 2011 the Ninth CircuitCourt of Appeals ruled in the case of 
CaliforniaWilderness Coalition v. U.S. Department of Energy
1
 that it was unlawful for DOE to classify areas asnational interest corridors and deem them eligiblefor fast-track approval without rst consulting withthe impacted states. Although the ruling does notexpressly say that interstate transmission line siting isan issue that should be left solely in the hands of thestates, it does imply that states must be involved inthe siting process.While states have contested the authority of thefederal government to site transmission lines, theyhave also recognized the need for added transmis-sion capacity. States have expressed the desire to nda politically satisfactory mechanism to facilitate theconstruction of infrastructure to transmit electricityacross states from areas of excessive and inexpensiveelectric generation to areas of insufcient and costlyelectric demand.One solution may be the formation of an interstatecompact governing transmission line siting. TheEnergy Policy Act of 2005 granted states advancecongressional consent to create regional interstatecompacts. Since enactment, several attempts—notably in the central Midwest and the Pacic North-west—have been made to create multistate consen-sus around the issue and drive toward an interstatecompact; no such agreements have been adopted todate. Such agreements, if created, would limit federal

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