Electric transmission tower

Coalition Signs Statement of Principles on Modernizing Electric Transmission Grid

Nov. 26, 2019
Statement of principles highlights ongoing collaboration between Canadian and American electricity sectors toward optimizing use of clean, renewable electricity in both countries.

WIRES, an international trade association that promotes investment in the high-voltage grid, and several other organizations in the electric power space recently announced a statement of principles for advancing development of a modern electric transmission grid. The statement was agreed to by a diverse coalition of 10 U.S. and Canadian organizations following the International Summit on the Electric Transmission Grid, held last month at the Embassy of Canada.

"The summit brought together diverse industry voices to address the pressing need for advancing the interregional and cross-border grid of the future," said Brian Gemmell, the president of WIRES and a vice president of transmission asset planning at National Grid. "The coming electrification of transportation and heating in the United States will require major new electric transmission infrastructure. We are calling for more leadership, cooperation, and investment at the federal, state, and regional levels to address the barriers that have inhibited the planning and execution of critical transmission projects that will be absolutely necessary to support the new electrified economy."

Joining WIRES in their support of the statement of principles are 10 other organizations:

  • Americans for Clean Energy Grid (ACEG)
  • Canadian Electricity Association (CEA)
  • Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
  • Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG)
  • Great Plains Institute (GPI)
  • GridWise Alliance, Inc. (GWA)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Works (IBEW)
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 
  • Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
  • WaterPower Canada (WPC)

Among the principles agreed upon were the following:

  • Policy makers in the United States and its several states and municipalities, and in Canada and its several provinces, territories, and municipalities are urged to review and improve the regulation of the infrastructure that comprises the electrical grid, to (1) streamline processes governing economic and environmental reviews of projects where possible, (2) promote economic and energy efficiency, (3) deliver important environmental benefits, and (4) ensure equitable sharing of the cost of needed infrastructure, as appropriate;
  • As applicable, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and state economic regulators should assess the need to improve upon and revise regulatory processes and corresponding regulations and policies governing the planning and cost allocation of high-voltage electric transmission, balancing the public's interest in expedition, cost savings, care of the environment, and an equitable sharing of burdens;
  • U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories that adopt renewable electric generation (fuel) requirements for their domestic utilities and other generators should, at the same time, recognize and take into account the extent to which such policies necessitate the development of additional transmission lines and/or the deployment of advanced technologies;
  • Canadian and U.S. industry leaders and public policy makers must ensure that investment in grid infrastructure in both countries responds effectively to threats from extreme weather and cyber intrusion.

"Maximizing the social, environmental and economic benefits of North America's abundant renewable electricity resources will require, among other elements, an enhanced focus on transmission infrastructure," said Anne-Raphaëlle Audouin, president, WPC. "This statement of principles highlights the ongoing collaboration between the Canadian and American electricity sectors toward optimizing the use of clean and renewable electricity in both countries."

"The ACEG is pleased to sign onto this statement of principles," John Jimison, executive director of the ACEG. "We look forward to collaborating with our fellow signatories and other diverse interests to advance a more affordable, resilient, and sustainable grid."

The summit gathered diverse organizations from the United States and Canada representing hundreds of companies, unions, and interest groups to discuss the robust interregional and cross-border grid of the future. Discussions focused on the planning and design of the future transmission grid, its economic benefits and regulatory challenges, the changing fundamentals in the electric sector, as well as threats to the grid's resilience.

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