FERC to identify future transmission planning, generator interconnection system needs

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to seek comment on, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act, the potential need for reforms or revisions to existing regulations to improve the electric regional transmission planning and cost allocation and generator interconnection processes.

The electric generation fleet is shifting from resources located close to population centers toward resources, including renewables, that may often be located far from load centers, FERC said. The growth of new resources seeking to interconnect to the transmission system and the differing characteristics of those resources are creating new demands.

FERC seeks comment on whether there should be changes in regional transmission planning and cost allocation and generator interconnection processes and which changes are necessary to ensure transmission rates remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential and that reliability is maintained.

The Advance NOPR would seek public comment on potential reforms in three areas:

  • Reforms for longer-term regional transmission planning and cost-allocation processes that take into account more holistic planning, including planning for anticipated future generation,
  • Rethinking cost responsibility for regional transmission facilities and interconnection-related network upgrades, and
  • Enhanced transmission oversight over how new transmission facilities are identified and paid for.

Among the questions considered is whether FERC should require transmission providers in each transmission planning region to establish a process to identify geographic zones that have the potential for the development of large amounts of renewable generation and plan transmission to facilitate the integration of renewable resources in those zones.

This Advance NOPR also seeks comment regarding whether the current approach to oversight of transmission investment adequately protects customers, and, if customers are not adequately protected from excessive costs, which potential reforms may be required and are legally permissible to ensure just and reasonable rates.

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