November 01, 2016 Feature

Transmission Grid Expansion—Where Are We Now?

By Kerry McGrath and James A. Nortey II

The regulation of transmission is changing due to the need to facilitate grid access for remote generation, which is often renewable power that can be developed best in areas far away from load centers. Separately, but not always independently of this need, regulatory authorities have wanted to open up development possibilities for transmission projects to entities other than incumbent public utilities. On July 21, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 1000, a landmark order adopting reforms to its electric transmission planning and cost allocation requirements for public utility transmission providers subject to FERC authority.1 The fundamental purpose of the new rule is to make it easier for remote generation facilities to access the grid and at the same time facilitate the development of transmission projects. Texas, however, has developed its own separate transmission policies applicable to its intrastate grid, ERCOT. The purpose of this article is to explore what effect FERC Order No. 1000 has had in opening up transmission development to competition and compare that effect to the Texas experience.

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