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New FERC Order Empowers States to Expand America’s Electricity Superhighways

Posted by Adam Winer on May 13, 2024

FERC Order No. 1920 will improve transmission planning and make it easier for states to improve their transmission grid

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to approve new rules aimed at improving long-term regional planning for high-voltage interstate electric transmission lines. 

“Families and businesses are paying the price for utilities’ and grid operators’ failure to address our critical electricity infrastructure needs,” said Heather O’Neill, President and CEO at national business association Advanced Energy United. "Building more multi-state transmission lines unclogs the traffic jams on America’s electricity superhighways and unlocks our ability to keep up with our growing energy needs. This FERC Order sends the message that transmission planning needs to change, and recognizes that states deserve a central role in ensuring a reliable electric grid built for the future.” 

Among the critical changes FERC says it is addressing in the rule are:

  • Requires long-term (i.e., 20 year) transmission planning to identify the most cost-effective transmission solutions and account for extreme weather 
  • Establishes requirements for grid operators and states to work together on planning and cost allocation 
  • Requires that transmission planning leverages the benefits of grid-enhancing technologies  

“The current piecemeal approach to building transmission is causing us to miss out on affordable energy that could be improving reliability and lowering electricity bills,” said O’Neill. “The fix is for states to forge regional and interregional solutions so we can get steel in the ground and build the transmission grid we need. These new regulatory tools require a more robust planning process and reflect the need for states to have a bigger voice in that process.”   

Transmission lines are large wires that move electricity from where it’s created to where it’s used, often over long distances. The DOE National Transmission Needs Study estimates that in order to meet growing demand by 2035 the U.S. must more than double the existing regional transmission capacity and expand existing interregional transmission capacity by more than fivefold. In 2022, grid congestion cost consumers roughly $20 billion. 

“States, utilities, grid operators, and the advanced energy industry all have a stake in making the grid more reliable, and it’s critical they come together to ensure that compliance with this Order results in a transmission system that delivers affordable electricity and supports economic growth,” said Caitlin Marquis, Managing Director at Advanced Energy United overseeing engagement with wholesale markets and FERC. 

The FERC Order is one important tool to address one challenge to transmission, and Advanced Energy United looks forward to engaging with stakeholders to continue advocating for a more robust, reliable, and affordable grid. 

Advanced Energy United leads a coalition called Transmission Possible, which provides nonpartisan resources to educate the public about how transmission works and why it’s so critical to keeping the lights on.

Click here to learn more about Advanced Energy United's work engaging with FERC and advocating for the expansion of wholesale markets.

Topics: Wholesale Markets, Press Releases, Caitlin Marquis, FERC, Heather O'Neill, Transmission