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Trying to Speed up Power Grid Permits, DOE Issues Final Transmission Rule

April 25, 2024
The White House says the rule will streamline transmission project review timelines while respecting the environmental permitting process.

The Biden Department of Energy released its finalized transmission permitting reform rule along with $331 million in funding to add new power grid capacity to the US West.

The aim is to streamline the permitting process for new transmission lines and invest money in power grid build-out and upgrades while maintaining stringent environmental impact reviews, according to a DOE release.

 New power transmission projects often take decades to come to fruition, and some are canceled due to how costly (in time and resources) the permitting process can be.

The DOE’s own transmission needs studies routinely show that more transmission capacity is needed now and in the future — particularly lines that reach across regions.

Issuing this rule will establish the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorizations and Permits program, which the DOE says will help qualifying projects consolidate their reviews and permitting processes to a two-year schedule. The program will maintain the engagement of the various stakeholders who are affected by the construction, including Indigenous people, state governments, local communities and others.

The $331 million investment, funded through the infrastructure law, will go toward a new power line from Idaho to Nevada. The administration is earmarking $30 billion toward power grid infrastructure and improvements.

According to the DOE, transmission lines in the US have been built at half the rate of the previous three decades, often due to permitting and financing challenges.

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