If You Build It, Will They Come?

E-newsletter Issue #77 | September 1, 2011

Demand for energy is rising, both in the U.S. and around the world. But supplies can’t keep up with demand if energy that is produced in one locale can’t be moved to consumers who need it.

“The challenge of moving energy from where it is produced to where it is needed has never been greater. It is a challenge that not only spans state boundaries, but also international borders,” said Kansas Rep. Tom Sloan.

As the demand for electrical energy continues to grow both domestically and internationally, a more robust and modern transmission system is needed to improve system reliability and to benefit consumers.

Transmission line siting has long vexed state policymakers, federal officials and international partners. The lack of a cohesive siting plan is leading to underdeveloped markets and an overstressed transmission system. With the expected growth in electricity demand, coupled with the increased reliance on renewable energy sources, the need for added transmission capacity is growing, both within the U.S. and abroad.

The Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts has convened a national advisory panel to explore the possibility of developing a Transmission Line Siting Compact. Sloan is a co-chair of that group.

The matter will be explored further explored during CSG’s 2011 National Conference and North American Summit, Oct. 19-23 in Bellevue, Wash.

Washington Rep. Jeff Morris, Duncan Wood, director of International Relations Programs, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, and an expert from Hydro Quebec will discuss the issue as well as how the three North American countries approach siting transmission lines. U.S. policymakers are considering promising new approaches with the goal of promoting interstate and international cooperation for siting transmission lines.

“A better understanding of various domestic approaches currently being employed to move energy, combined with a rare opportunity to see firsthand what our Mexican and Canadian neighbors are doing when it comes to transmission line siting, will provide state policymakers tremendous insights as we consider ways to address this significant policy challenge,” said Sloan.

The session, “If You Build It, Will They Come? A North American Perspective on Electrical Transmission Line Siting,” is scheduled for 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21.\

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