Biden Administration Streamlines Permitting to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

The Biden administration plans to streamline permitting processes to support the clean energy transition, aiming to triple US transmission capacity. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will issue a final rule on regional transmission planning and cost allocation to achieve this goal.

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Biden Administration Streamlines Permitting to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

Biden Administration Streamlines Permitting to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

The Biden administration has announced plans to streamline permitting processes to support the clean energy transition, aiming to triple US transmission capacity and reduce air pollution-related deaths. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is expected to issue a final rule on regional transmission planning and cost allocation, which will play a crucial role in the administration's goal of decarbonizing the economy by 2050.

Why this matters: This move has significant implications for the country's ability to meet its climate goals, as upgrading the transmission infrastructure is critical to supporting the growth of renewable energy sources. By streamlining the permitting process, the administration can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

The rule, under development for nearly two years, aims to ensure the us, electric, transmission, system is resilient and able to deliver reliable, clean electricity to meet growing demand. The Biden administration has set a goal of a carbon-free power sector by 2035 to fight climate change, which requires more than doubling regional transmission capacity and expanding interregional transmission capacity more than fivefold.

Rob Gramlich, president of transmission consulting firm Grid Strategies, emphasized the importance of the rule, stating, "Unfortunately, very few utilities or regions have been doing that planning, and all the new demand and supply trying to connect to the grid is being stifled. This rule will help fix that."

The queue of power generation projects awaiting a connection to the electric grid is currently around 2,600 gigawatts, twice the amount of generation of the current U.S. power plant fleet, boosted by tax incentives in Biden's 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. The rule is expected to require utilities, transmission providers, and state energy policymakers to carry out long-term planning to ensure enough transmission to bring new generation online.

The United States' aging transmission infrastructure, mostly built in the 1950s and '60s, is in dire need of upgrades to reduce emissions and ensure dependable electricity service. The Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law have invested over $421 billion in clean energy projects since their passage, but the current transmission system remains a major roadblock to meeting the Paris agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The US needs to expand its grid systems by 60% by 2030 and triple system expansion by 2050 to keep up with the renewable energy economy. Upgrading the transmission system would make the energy grid more resilient to changing weather and keep prices down for consumers, saving lower-income Americans in New England up to 27% of their income on winter energy bills.

The streamlined permitting processes and FERC's anticipated rule on transmission planning and cost allocation are significant steps towards achieving the Biden administration's clean energy goals. With the US currently at 22% renewables on the grid and the rapid growth of solar energy and battery storage, addressing the challenges to transmission capacity is crucial for a successful transition to a fully renewable energy sector.

Key Takeaways

  • Biden admin aims to triple US transmission capacity to support clean energy transition.
  • FERC's new rule will streamline permitting processes and ensure reliable, clean electricity.
  • US needs to expand grid systems by 60% by 2030 and triple by 2050 to meet climate goals.
  • Upgrading transmission infrastructure can reduce air pollution-related deaths and energy costs.
  • Streamlined permitting processes crucial for achieving 100% renewable energy sector by 2050.