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FERC, NARUC to Establish Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission

June 21, 2021
Members of this first-of-its-kind task force will explore transmission-related issues to identify and realize the benefits that transmission can provide.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) announced the formation of a joint federal-state task force on electric transmission, which FERC established by a recently issued order. Members of this first-of-its-kind task force will explore transmission-related issues to identify and realize the benefits that transmission can provide, while ensuring that the costs are allocated efficiently and fairly.

The efficient development of new transmission infrastructure is essential as the nation continues to transition to clean energy resources.  Federal and state regulators will be called upon to address numerous issues, including how to plan and pay for new transmission infrastructure and how to navigate shared federal-state regulatory authority and processes. As a result, the time is ripe for greater federal-state coordination and cooperation.

"I am so pleased that FERC is joining with NARUC to establish this joint task force to consider a variety of transmission-related subjects that will affect how successful efforts will be to build out the transmission grid," said FERC Chairman Rich Glick. "A big thank you to our friends at NARUC, including Idaho Public Utilities Commission President and this year's NARUC President Paul Kjellander for their hard work in putting this task force proposal together. I'm looking forward to our joint meetings."

"Our partnership with FERC on this task force presents a much-needed opportunity for state and federal regulators to work collaboratively on transmission issues that affect all stakeholders," said Kjellander. "Our shared authority over how to plan and pay for transmission infrastructure and the rapid pace of the energy transition have made such collaboration an imperative for all of us."

FERC's order requests NARUC to nominate up to 10 state regulators to join FERC commissioners on the task force. All task force meetings will be open to the public and will use a dedicated FERC docket for this process to provide stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to comment for the record.

Specifically, the task force will seek to:

  • Identify barriers that inhibit planning and development of optimal transmission necessary to achieve federal and state policy goals, as well as potential solutions to those barriers.
  • Explore potential bases for one or more states to use FERC-jurisdictional transmission planning processes to advance their policy goals, including multistate goals.
  • Explore opportunities for states to voluntarily coordinate to identify, plan, and develop regional transmission solutions.
  • Review FERC rules and regulations regarding planning and cost allocation of transmission projects and potentially identify recommendations for reforms.
  • Examine barriers to the efficient and expeditious interconnection of new resources through the FERC-jurisdictional interconnection processes, as well as potential solutions to those barriers.
  • Discuss mechanisms to ensure that transmission investment is cost-effective, including approaches to enhance transparency and improve oversight of transmission investment including, potentially, through enhanced federal-state coordination.

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