CSG to Convene Electric Transmission Line Siting Compact Drafting Team

Efforts being led by CSG to develop an electric transmission line siting compact will renew this week when the compact’s drafting team meets for the first time.  With the expected growth in electricity demand, coupled with the need to bring renewable energy to market and the necessity to enhance and secure the nation’s energy infrastructure, the need for added transmission capacity has never been more apparent.

One solution may be the formation of an interstate compact governing transmission line siting.   The Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted states advanced congressional consent to create regional interstate compacts. Since enactment, there have been several attempts (notably in the central Midwest and the Pacific Northwest) to create multistate consensus around the issue and drive toward an interstate compact, but to date no such agreements have been adopted. Such agreements, if created, would limit federal siting authority with a few exceptions (e.g. if the parties to a compact are in disagreement) and therefore are potentially attractive solutions for states.

To that end CSG convened a national advisory panel, guided by legislators from each of CSG’s four regions and consisting of representatives from federal, state and non-profit organizations with a keen interest and authority over transmission line siting, to explore the feasibility of an electric transmission line siting compact.  Following a series of in-depth discussions in which the advisory panel explored the challenges and opportunities present in the current transmission arena, the group endorsed the creation of a model interstate electricity transmission line siting compact.  Such an agreement, which would be national in scope though utilized on a more regional basis, would seek to improve efficiencies during the siting process, such as common applications, pre-determined timelines, and public hearings. It is envisioned that the new agreement would be triggered on an ad hoc basis and pertain only to those states that are both members of the compact and impacted by the proposed line. 

The drafting team will meet for the first time later this week at the offices of The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  This drafting team, which is composed of approximately ten experts from around the country including state policymakers, key stakeholders, and interstate compact experts, will be tasked with taking the recommendations from the Advisory Committee and developing an interstate compact for consideration by state legislatures around the country as early as the 2013 session.

To learn more about CSG’s effort to create an electric transmission line siting compact or to read more about the drafting team’s progress please click here.