Friday, July 22, 2011

US Grid Improvement to Incorporate Renewables

The New York Times reports that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a rule Thursday that establishes guidelines "for planning and paying for new power lines, part of a long-term policy effort to help the nation's electricity grid grow enough to meet the demands of renewable energy and a competitive electricity market." The rule "is intended to push the organizations that manage the grid into cooperating with one another, so that developers can build power lines across several states and multiple electrical jurisdictions." However, it "does not specify what the formula should be for allocating costs, or precisely how new lines should be planned."

The Wall Street Journal published that FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said Thursday that the new order will benefit wind and solar energy projects in particular, because they are often located in remote areas and lack access to existing interstate transmission lines. The rule will allow companies other than local utilities to take part in transmission projects, with the hope that the removal of such barriers will increase competition and lower costs.

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