Resolution Supporting State Policies for Advanced Transmission Lines

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WHEREAS, a secure, reliable and resilient power grid integrating generation resources serves as a foundation of a growing economy and is critical to our national security; and

WHEREAS, regulators, policymakers, and consumers expect generating resources and the grid to perform extremely reliably; and

WHEREAS, a significant portion of the nation’s transmission facilities are aged and urgently requires replacement and substantial upgrading; and

WHEREAS, environmental regulations, state renewable and clean energy portfolio standards with mandated deadlines, state and federal tax policies, other economic factors, and technology developments are causing some electric generation resources to retire, while substantial replacement generation, some of it fueled by intermittent resources, is being or is planned to be sited at other locations on the electric grid; and

WHEREAS, new innovative cost-effective transmission technologies (including, but not limited to, high-capacity/high-efficiency conductors, and compact transmission towers) are commercially available with revolutionary, extraordinarily high performance levels compared to other technologies to address aged circuit and new generation issues such as a) much greater increases in grid capacity, b) much greater improvements in energy transfers, c) significantly greater stability and resiliency, d) much greater efficient use of existing and new rights-of-way, e) substantial reduction in transmission line losses, f) streamlining siting and construction activities and g) more rapidly bringing new and replacement circuits into service; and

WHEREAS, new and advanced replacement transmission facilities can be designed and deployed to enable a wide variety of new generating resources and can address technical, environmental and aesthetic issues that might impede or limit the development and operation of these resources so states can achieve their public policy goals on schedules they have set; and

WHEREAS, crowded utility corridors often allow little room for expansion; and

WHEREAS, some states including but not limited to New York, Kansas, and North Carolina have established minimal requirements for approving transmission projects that use existing corridors with de minimis impacts; and

WHEREAS, at least in one state, the Joint Committee on Energy of the state of Arkansas adopted Interim Resolution 2015-004, establishing a policy that encourages regulators and grid operators to support and encourage consideration of advanced transmission line technologies to cost-effectively deliver benefits; and

WHEREAS, the policies of policymaker associations including the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Southern Legislative Conference representing 15 states, the Midwest Legislative Conference representing 11 states and four Canadian provinces, The Council of State Governments-West representing 13 states and five Canadian provinces, and the Southern States Energy Board representing 16 states, all recognize the specific benefits of these technologies to quickly and substantially modernize the grid and improve generating resource integration; and

WHEREAS, all of these aforementioned policies recognize that great benefits will flow from advanced technologies on a cost per energy unit delivered or other such basis so state legislators, electric utilities, grid operators and state public service commissions are encouraged to optimize investment decisions around the cost-effective use of these technologies to yield extraordinarily high performance from them.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages state legislatures and public service commissions through legislation, regulations, orders, or other appropriate means to support utility efforts to: 1) investigate and consider new advanced transmission technologies that offer revolutionary performance benefits when replacing aged transmission infrastructure; 2) evaluate new advanced transmission technologies to determine whether they are best able to cost effectively ensure the continued reliable delivery of electricity while providing revolutionary greater capacity and revolutionary enhanced efficiency on schedules required to meet the state’s public policy objectives; 3) consider the ability of these technologies to greatly reduce environmental and visual impacts to communities; and 4) consider the ability of these and other technologies to greatly reduce the overall cost of energy delivery; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages state legislatures and public service commissions to work with Regional Transmission Organizations and/or Independent System Operators and other planning authorities to compare the cost-effective, revolutionary performance of advanced electric transmission infrastructure options to the performance of other technologies for a) increasing grid capacity, b) reducing transmission line losses, c) improving energy transfers, d) making much more efficient use of rights-of-way, e) improving energy efficiency, and f) the shortest time to be put in service by streamlining siting and construction activities in their planning, evaluation and oversight of transmission grid development, especially by utilizing existing transmission corridors; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages state legislatures and public service commissions to include supplemental or new policies in their oversight of transmission facilities that promote revolutionary, rather than incremental, performance and the benefits of the appropriate use of cost-effective advanced electric transmission technologies in support of their interest in the continued, timely provision of affordable, reliable electricity to consumers.

Adopted by The Council of State Governments’ Executive Committee this 11th Day of December, 2016 in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.