New Bill Would Help Break the Transmission Bottleneck

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  A new bill, introduced by Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Congressman Scott Peters (D-Calif.), would increase the security and capacity of the nation’s electricity transmission grid, facilitating the transition towards clean energy nationwide. 

“If we’re serious about helping deliver clean, reliable, and affordable power to hardworking families, we need to break the bottleneck slowing transmission projects,” said Veronica Ung-Kono, staff attorney and clean energy transmission policy specialist at the National Wildlife Federation. “Senator Hickenlooper’s and Representative Peters’s proposal takes the right and responsible approach to addressing this problem and supports the nation’s clean energy economy. Congress should swiftly take up this legislation and help ensure our transmission network does not hinder our ongoing transition to clean energy.” 

The bill aims to increase electricity reliability by requiring regions to be able to transfer at least 30% of their peak demand between regions. The bill allows each region to decide how to meet these requirements, such as:

  • New transmission lines and upgrading existing lines and substations,
  • Technologies that increase the capacity of the existing grid such as dynamic line ratings,
  • Energy efficiency measures that reduce peak demand, or
  • Additional generation or storage that frees up capability to move power.

Benefits of the bill:

  • Increase national security by strengthening the grid against cyber and physical attacks,
  • Reduce Americans’ electricity bills by allowing energy from new lower-cost wind and solar facilities to compete on the transmission grid,
  • Prevent blackouts triggered by extreme weather by facilitating transmission of electricity to places that are struggling to meet demand, and
  • Improve air quality and address climate change by facilitating the transition to electricity from clean sources.

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