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House Subcommittee Passes Bills On Transformers, Reliability, Hydropower And Nuclear Power

Nov. 2, 2023
The bills will encourage development of small and next-generation projects.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Climate and Grid Security has passed bills on transformers, reliability, hydropower and nuclear power to encourage the development of small and next-generation projects. 

The subcommittee passed a bill, H.R. 4167, sponsored by Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) to prohibit the DOE from increasing distribution transformer conservation standards for five years. The American Public Power Association (APPA) supported the bill on the basis of a delay required to provide manufacturers the certainty to increase production for meeting demand.

A modification was offered by Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA) to establish a program for financial and technical assistance for domestic manufacturers to increase distribution transformer production, which was defeated on a party-line vote.

The subcommittee also passed a bill sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to review and comment on federal agency actions likely having negative impacts on the reliability and adequacy of the bulk-power system. The bill was supported by the APPA.

“Public power utilities must balance their responsibilities to provide reliable and affordable electricity while also reducing GHG emissions,” said Desmarie Waterhouse, Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Communications & General Counsel at APPA. “It is necessary and appropriate for the federal government, whose agency actions can have a significant impact on the reliability and resource adequacy of the bulk power system, must do the same.”

“Given the mission of FERC to assist consumers in obtaining reliable, safe, secure, and economically efficient energy services at a reasonable cost, APPA believes FERC should be given the authority to analyze and a formal role in determining the potential reliability impacts of major proposed and final federal regulations,” Waterhouse added.

APPA also supported the subcommittee’s bill, sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), to confirm hydropower is an essential renewable energy resource and reform FERC’s licensing process to protect existing hydropower resources and encourage the development of small and next-generation projects.

Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH), cosponsored by full committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), modified a section of the Federal Power Act related to conditions for licenses and allow affected Indian Tribes to recommend to FERC license modifications.

The subcommittee also passed 12 bills related to nuclear power, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reforms included in a bipartisan Senate bill, S. 1111 the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2023, to reduce the time required to review and license a new nuclear power plant, lower the costs to obtain a license from the NRC for advanced reactors and ensure U.S. leadership in nuclear exports and supply chain issues.

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