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Connecting renewable energy resources to the electric grid in most places requires access to new or existing transmission lines. However, the current slow pace of transmission expansion paired with policy, regulatory and permitting challenges all pose substantial barriers to unlocking America’s abundant renewable energy resources.

As ITC’s Nina Plaushin discussed during a recent episode of the podcast “Grid Geeks”, there’s a considerable renewable energy interconnection backlog across the country because the existing regulatory framework and planning procedures aren’t set up to deal with today’s rapidly evolving energy landscape.

In order to begin solving these challenges, Nina underscored the need for state regulators to look beyond the cost of transmission projects and adopt a broader view of how transmission can reduce generation costs. For example, as states set renewable portfolio standards and greenhouse gas commitments, they should factor the need for transmission construction into their planning timelines, as large-scale transmission projects can take 7-10 years to complete. Furthermore, on the federal level, Nina recommended the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop cost allocation methodologies that would account for broad and varied benefits offered by interstate and interregional transmission solutions.

Today, ITC is working closely with WIRES, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and Edison Electric Institute to educate people about how power transmission should be valued beyond the narrow bandwidth of today, in terms of reliability, resilience, and policy benefits.

You can listen to the full “Grid Geeks” interview with Nina Plaushin via the SoundCloud link below, or on Apple iTunes.

Listen:  On SoundCloud or Apple iTunes