Chair Castor Leads Bicameral Call For FERC Action To Lower Energy Costs And Improve Grid Reliability
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Chair Kathy Castor of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis led a bicameral letter urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to accelerate the transition to clean energy by improving transmission planning, optimizing the cost allocation process, and unclogging interconnection queues.
“Our country is facing several challenges that require ambitious Federal policies to lower energy costs and provide economic security for American families and businesses,” the letter reads. “We have technologies we can deploy today to reduce household energy bills, improve reliability, create jobs, and cut harmful carbon pollution. We urge you to take next steps as expeditiously as possible to upgrade and expand our electric grid to enable power sharing across regions and the connection of more affordable and abundant renewable energy to power our homes, businesses, and vehicles at lower costs.”
The letter urges FERC to consider policies that include:
- Proactive planning of transmission lines to connect anticipated future generation with load;
- Ensuring that the multiple benefits of a proposed project (such as increasing reliability, resilience, efficiency, or meeting public policy goals) be considered, not just the primary benefit of a project;
- Ensuring that the cost allocation process accounts for the widespread benefits for consumers of expanded transmission;
- Streamlining inter-regional transmission planning with similar reforms.
- Eliminating disproportionate participant funding of network upgrades; and
- Planning network upgrades through the regional transmission planning and cost allocation process rather than through the serial interconnection process.
“As the ongoing European energy crisis demonstrates, there is no time to wait. We urgently need to shore up American energy independence and security by upgrading and expanding the electric grid. Doing so will place us on a firmer foundation to tackle the climate crisis, which grows increasingly dire with each year of delay. The April 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Working Group III report underscores that global greenhouse gas pollution must peak by 2025 and that we can halve global emissions by 2030,” the letter reads.
“Our nation’s electric grid is rapidly changing, and our approach to transmission must change with it”, said Rep. Rush, Chair of the Energy Subcommittee on the Committee on Energy and Commerce. “Today I am urging FERC to take the necessary steps to make sure that as our sources of electricity evolve, Americans across the country will be able to access clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.”
“To build a green energy economy, we first need to build green infrastructure,” said Senator Markey. “Our outdated energy grid is locking out new technology and new capacity that could supercharge our grid and bring cheap, clean renewable energy to cities and homes across the country. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to act now to prioritize a modernized transmission grid and untangle the process that gets our country wired for clean energy.”
The letter was signed by Representatives Kathy Castor, Bobby L. Rush, Paul Tonko, Julia Brownley, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Sean Casten, Veronica Escobar, and Mike Levin, and Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Martin Heinrich, Edward J. Markey, and Tina Smith.
The full text of the letter is available here.
- In June of 2020, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Democrats released the majority staff report Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America. This report provides a roadmap for Congress—a Climate Crisis Action Plan—to build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.
- House Democrats have already passed more than 400 of the recommendations in the Climate Crisis Action Plan, and have successfully worked to turn over 200 of them into law.