Skip to content

Heinrich, Casten Announce Bicameral Bill To Recharge Electric Transmission Planning

The Interregional Transmission Planning Improvement Act will help build a more reliable and robust 21st century energy infrastructure

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomed bicameral momentum for a bill he reintroduced last month, the Interregional Transmission Planning Improvement Act of 2021 to help bolster the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) interregional transmission planning process. U.S. Representative Sean Casten (D-Ill.) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives today. 

The bill, first introduced by Senator Heinrich in 2019, directs FERC to explicitly consider multiple benefits: economic, reliability, operational, public policy, and environmental, including reductions in carbon emissions. It further requires stronger interregional collaboration and consistent consideration of those multiple benefits.

“We need to be thinking regionally, not just locally or nationally, to confront the climate crisis and make our electric grid more resilient and reliable. Transmission projects that connect areas of incredible clean energy potential, such as the eastern plains of New Mexico, with people’s homes and businesses’ manufacturing plants are critical to building back better and taking advantage of the enormous opportunities the ongoing energy transition presents," said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "FERC’s interregional transmission planning process is not working – we have to work with each other across state lines on joint planning processes and full evaluation of interregional transmission solutions and their benefits. Smart transmission planning offers a road map to modernizing our electric grid in a way that creates good-paying jobs and brighter, more resilient and reliable, futures.”

“When we talk about what it will take to transition to a clean energy economy, we don’t talk nearly enough about the roadblocks to getting electricity from where it is generated to where people need it,” said Casten. “In order to beat the climate crisis, we’re going to have to electrify everything we can with clean electricity. That means we’ve got to build a lot more transmission wires, and right now we’re lagging sorely behind. My bill with Senator Heinrich will update our energy infrastructure so that we can deliver clean, cheap energy where it’s needed and create jobs in the process.”

The Interregional Transmission Planning Improvement Act of 2021 directs FERC to consider in its rulemaking:

  • The effectiveness of the existing interregional planning process.
  • Specific improvement to the process that would meet the stated goals of Order 1000.
  • Cost allocation methodologies that reflect the multiple benefits provided by interregional solutions.

The bill directs FERC to initiate the rulemaking within six months of enactment and complete a final rule within 18 months of enactment.

A copy of the Interregional Transmission Planning Improvement Act is available here