President Barack Obama on March 12 received a new progress report highlighting the administration’s work on energy, including efforts on the proposed Atlantic Wind Connection.
According to “The blueprint for a secure energy future: Progress report,” the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is proceeding with the permitting of a right-of-way for the offshore “backbone” transmission project that would be capable of transmitting up to 7,000 MW of offshore wind energy to the grid in the mid-Atlantic states. The AWC project is led by Trans-Elect Development Company and involves Google, Good Energies and Marubeni Corporation.
DOI is also continuing to make progress in its “smart from the start” planning efforts to identify suitable areas for future wind energy development. Wind energy areas have been identified offshore Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with efforts being done to move toward holding the first competitive lease sales by the end of the year, the report added.
The report also discussed the memorandum of understanding that nine agencies signed in 2009 to improve how high-voltage transmission lines are sited on federal lands.
Furthermore, the report noted that in October 2011, the Obama administration said it would accelerate the permitting review of seven proposed electric transmission lines through a rapid response team for transmission.
Those projects include the approximately 145-mile, 500-kV Susquehanna to Roseland proposed by PPL’s (NYSE:PPL) PPL Electric Utilities and Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG) subsidiary Public Service Electric and Gas that would go from the Susquehanna substation in Pennsylvania to the Roseland substation in New Jersey. The project, which also includes several 500 – 230-kV substations in the two states, is expected to be in service in the spring of 2015.
The report noted that since 2009, DOI has approved 29 onshore renewable energy projects, with the first solar project on public lands – 50 MW in Nevada – expected to be fully operational and delivering power to the grid by May.
Also, eight projects under the Transportation Electrification Initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will result in the deployment of more than 13,000 grid-connected electric vehicles and more than 22,000 charging points in residential, commerical and public locations nationwide by the end of 2013. DOE will collect information about how consumers use and charge electric vehicles, which will be key in informing the broader rollout of electric vehicles and chargers nationwide, the report added.
The report also said that in 2009, the administration funded the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for the first time with $400m. The ARPA-E has supported more than 120 individual projects, including work to develop improved energy storage devices for the electric grid, according to the report.
Among other things, the report said that the Obama administration has launched a series of clean energy innovation hubs, including the Batteries and Energy Storage Hub, which will focus on accelerating research and development of electrochemical energy storage for transportation and the electric grid.
The report follows Obama’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” which was put forward a year ago, according to a March 12 statement from the White House blog.