WASHINGTON (March 31, 2022) — The National Council on Electricity Policy today announced the release of two new mini guides, the sixth and seventh in its series promoting dialogue among state-level electricity decision makers by highlighting examples of successful engagement. Each mini guide features collaborative approaches, lessons learned and interviews with leading regional, state and local decision makers.
Looking ahead, the number of proposals for new transmission lines is expected to increase. As more states are committing to decarbonizing the electricity system, a substantial amount of new transmission construction is expected to connect renewable generation resources in remote locations to load centers. Decisions on where to site transmission lines must balance the needs of the electric system with other priorities and uses of land; states have evolved several ways to organize this important decision-making process.
The Mini Guide on Transmission Siting: State Agency Decision Making identifies which state agencies are responsible for reviewing and approving or denying electric transmission line siting. The entities responsible for transmission siting are organized into four major categories: public utility commissions, siting boards, other state agencies and local decision-making. Across these categories, the mini guide outlines the interests that must be balanced, organizational approaches being used and insights into different state processes. Interviews with key agency leads and staff from Arizona, Massachusetts, Kansas and South Carolina offer observations about the relative consistencies in responsibilities and approaches across different institutional structures.
“The mini guide highlights that, despite organization differences, states share common approaches to transmission siting. For example, independence and public visibility of the siting process are recognized as key values across jurisdictions,” said Commissioner Sarah Freeman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Agency.
The second mini guide, Engagement between States and Regional Transmission Organizations, provides insights into the relationships among regional transmission organizations, independent system operators and regional state committees across four regions: the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and the Organization of MISO States, ISO-New England and the New England States Committee on Electricity, Southwest Power Pool and the SPP RSC and finally, PJM and the Organization of PJM States. The mini guide provides a succinct background and overview of the functions of the RTOs and RSCs, explores engagement within states related to RTOs, shares examples of effective collaboration and features specific insights from interviews with executives from SPP, PJM, ISO-NE and MISO in addition to commissioners from Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and Connecticut who serve on the RSCs in their regions.
“Understanding how decision-making occurs at RTOs and ISOs is critically important to ensuring just and reasonable rates for customers,” said Commissioner ToNola Brown-Bland, of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and president of NCEP. “The mini guide offers important examples of state and regional coordination, which can support commissions, energy offices and other state decision makers in conveying their policy priorities to the RTOs and ISOs that manage the bulk power system in many states.”
NARUC thanks the U.S. Department of Energy for its support in the development of these resources.
The Mini Guide on Transmission Siting: State Agency Decision Making was authored by William H. Smith Jr. as a consultant to NARUC. Engagement Between States and Regional Transmission Organizations was authored by Kerry Worthington, former NARUC senior manager. Both mini guides, as well as other publications in the series, are available on the NCEP website at https://www.naruc.org/ncep/resources/mini-guide-series/.
The National Council on Electricity Policy is a platform for all state-level electricity decision makers to share and learn from diverse perspectives on the evolving electricity sector. Members include representatives from public utility commissions, air and environmental regulatory agencies, governors’ staffs and state energy offices, legislatures, and consumer advocates. NCEP is an affiliate of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Center for Partnerships and Innovation. Explore NCEP resources at www.naruc.org/ncep.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC’s member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of state public utility commissions before the three branches of the federal government.