A report released this week lays out clear steps that utilities must take in order to involve America’s farmers, ranchers and rural landowners in the critical decisions of how and where to build new energy transmission infrastructure.
 
“A clean and efficient power system requires wires to transmit and distribute electricity where it is most needed,” said Johnathan Hladik, Center for Rural Affairs Energy Policy Analyst and co-author of the report. “Today’s aging grid struggles to achieve this as consumers are increasingly demanding efficiency and clean energy.”
 
Hladik was joined by Carl Zichella of the Natural Resources Defense Council in authoring Siting: Finding A Home for Renewable Energy and Transmission, one of eight white papers making up America’s Power Plan, a report curated by the Energy Foundation in partnership with Energy Innovation.

The Siting report can be viewed or downloaded at:
http://americaspowerplan.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/APP-SITING-PAPER.pdf,
 
with the full America’s Power Plan report available at:
http://americaspowerplan.com

Hladik and Zichella’s paper focuses on the institutional innovations that can help modernize America’s power grid, by making changes to the way we plan for, site and permit clean power generation and transmission infrastructure.
 
According to Hladik, policymakers have many options to accelerate siting for new generation and transmission needs. This includes changes to the way landowners are compensated for the value of their land. Hladik and Zichella’s paper goes on to focus on reforms needed to locate, coordinate and expedite any new generation or transmission that the grid system requires.
 
In short, the report calls for policymakers to:

  • Optimize existing grid infrastructure,
  • Fully use available planning processes,
  • Employ “Smart from the Start” criteria,
  • Improve interagency, federal-state and interstate coordination,
  • Work with landowners to develop new options for private lands, including innovative compensation measures,
  • Refine the process to support siting offshore wind developments.

“Today’s siting process can be a particular challenge for transmission line projects that cross many different jurisdictions,” explained Hladik. “But the changes we’ve described here can help accelerate smart siting.”

Hladik and Zichella were among over 150 leading energy analysts from academia, industry and the non-profit sector that were tapped for their analysis in the commissioning of America’s Power Plan, the first national effort to take a comprehensive look at the challenges faced by the electric power system and outline potential policy and market solutions. The report is intended to tackle the tough questions about America’s energy future and serve as a toolkit for state and local decision makers as they seek to address these challenges.

SOURCE: Center For Rural Affairs