Seven Transmission Line Projects Fast Track

Building new transmission infrastructure in the U.S. is becoming increasingly necessary; not only to integrate renewable energy generation resources into the grid, but also to accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles on America’s roads, avoid blackouts, and reduce the need to build new power plants. However, the process required to permit, review and seek public comment on building electric transmission lines is long and arduous, requiring coordination among multiple federal, state, and tribal agencies.

In order to bring the nation’s electric system into the 21st century, the Obama administration has announced that it will accelerate the permitting and construction of seven proposed electric transmission lines. The move is intended to create thousands of jobs, while building an electric grid that is safer and more secure, and gives consumers more energy choices. These seven projects will serve as pilot demonstrations for a streamlined federal permitting process, and increased cooperation at the federal, state, and tribal levels.

energy storage and power grid

image via Shutterstock

In order to accomplish this, the Administration has recently formed an inter-agency Rapid Response Team for Transmission (RRTT), comprised of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The agencies will work together to coordinate permitting, review, and consultation schedules and processes, apply a uniform and consistent approach to consultations with Tribal governments, and ensure that all agencies are fully engaged and meeting schedules.

The seven RRTT pilot projects will cross twelve states, and are expected to create thousands of jobs. A list of the seven proposed projects can be found here.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).