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Nov 20, 2006, Wind Energy Weekly

The lengthy process of setting federal transmission corridors took a couple of steps forward late this week.

On Thursday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued rules to implement federal transmission siting under its new authority from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). In a related matter, on the same day the Senate Energy Committee held a hearing to consider the President’s nomination of Kevin Kolevar to be Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy (DOE) overseeing DOE’s part of the federal transmission corridor process. Finally, also this week, at its annual meeting the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) held a session on the topic.

AWEA Policy Director Rob Gramlich expressed optimism about the recent progress on the transmission corridor process. “[W]hile there are some hurdles, the process seems to be moving forward,” said Gramlich, who was a panelist at the NARUC event. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see transmission corridors designated for the most critical areas for reliability in a matter of months and progress on corridors for renewable energy not long after that.”

The EPAct provides for DOE to designate National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors. The legislation gives FERC the authority to issue permits for construction of transmission facilities through these corridors. AWEA has advocated designating corridors towind-rich areas. (See www.awea.org/policy/regulatory_policy/transmission.html). Some states and local officials have opposed corridor designation. At the hearing for Kolevar, Senator Bingaman (D-NM) asked about his support for the wind system integration program and Senator Salazar (D-CO) asked about transmission corridors to access wind resources.

At the NARUC conference, Gramlich said that ideally, DOE will use its authority to work with states and remove roadblocks, and that FERC will never have to use the authority to pre-empt state authority and issue construction permits. Gramlich was on a panel with the CEO of Allegheny Energy, Paul Evanson, DOE’s Mark Whitenton, New York Public Service Commission Chairman Bill Flynn, North Dakota Commissioner Susan Wefald, and Vermont Commissioner David O’Brien. The northeastern states are urging careful consideration and state consultation, while some states that would like to develop and export wind energy support corridor designation.

Technical Articles - index of technical articles related to GENI's vision. Includes: articles written by GENI and about GENI concerning the proof of concept and some industry reports relating to the GENI vision