It's Not Easy Transmitting Green
By Bill DeGrandis and Alexandra Konieczny
FERC will face challenges in balancing a push for renewable energy with statutory duties on rates.
The Obama administration aims to double the electric power produced from renewable resources (such as hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass) by 2012. At the same time, the administration is focusing on how to spur expansion and refurbishment of the electric transmission grid.
Why the focus on transmission in the context of renewable energy? Many desirable renewable resource sites are located far from the existing transmission grid, meaning that significant transmission investment will be needed to connect these sources to the grid.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has exclusive jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act over the rates and terms for transmission service in interstate commerce by public utilities. With the administrations strong emphasis on renewable energy and electric transmission now on the front burner, what are the legal and regulatory issues that the commission will face? What authority does the commission have or need for these challenges?
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