New investment in clean energy transmission will be needed to maximize renewable energy development to meet renewable electric standards, facilitate the retirement of coal plants, increase the reliability of our electric transmission grid and more fully integrate renewable power.
In considering clean energy transmission, we urge attention to the following principles which reflect the concerns and priorities of a broad set of stakeholders affected by clean energy transmission. We also urge open and transparent planning by regional transmission operators that include opportunities for public input and participation and consideration of a broad range of public policy goals.
Clean Energy Transmission Principles
- Make more effective use of the existing transmission system first. If retiring existing coal, deploying distributed generation, or improving energy efficiency can achieve a comparable and timely increase in renewable generation or be used to achieve needed reliability upgrades, those options should be pursued.
- Upgrading existing transmission in key locations or adding capacity to existing transmission corridors or other public right-of-ways should be maximized to avoid further disruption of private property.
- New transmission should predominately support wind, solar and other renewable development, and the retirement of existing coal. Through market regulations and incentives, renewable energy should be prioritized over other generation.
- The cost of new transmission supporting renewable generation should be broadly allocated among customers and across geographic regions that will benefit from the added reliability or clean energy delivery provided by the new capacity.
- New transmission should be routed to avoid sensitive natural areas. When new transmission must pass through sensitive natural areas, care should be taken to mitigate negative impacts.
- Landowners, community groups and public interest groups with a stake in a proposed transmission line should be engaged early in the planning process and new transmission corridors should avoid disrupting important community institutions.
- Property owners and occupants directly affected by a new transmission line should receive a fair share of the economic benefits from wind development projects. One-time payments may be negotiated with landowners prior to development or multiple payments may be continuous and tied to future project revenue.
- Communities affected should be provided an opportunity to benefit economically from increased transmission capacity through common interconnection standards that facilitate local development of smaller scale projects. Smaller scale projects could connect to new transmission lines or existing lines experiencing reduced load as the result of new capacity.