WIRES: Organizations in U.S., Canada call for modernizing transmission grid

* The Statement of Principles further noted that the organizations resolve that Canadian and U.S. industry leaders, as well as public policymakers, must ensure that investment in grid infrastructure in the two countries responds effectively to threats from extreme weather and cyber intrusion

A coalition of 10 U.S. and Canadian organizations, including WIRES, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, and the Canadian Electricity Association, have signed a Statement of Principles for advancing development of a modern electric transmission grid, according to a Nov. 20 statement posted on WIRES’ website.

The coalition agreed on the Statement of Principles following the International Summit on the Electric Transmission Grid that was held in October at the Embassy of Canada, WIRES said.
The Statement of Principles noted, for instance, that:

  • Electricity markets that are supported by an integrated electricity delivery system afford consumers and businesses in both countries access to diverse energy resources
  • Increased infrastructure investment would ensure that the grid has long-term strength and adequately protects national security and public safety, as well as stimulating energy potential, reducing costs to consumers, contributing to job growth, and enhancing competition in energy markets in the United States and Canada
  • A transition to a no-emission or low-emission electric generation fleet with cost-competitive renewable resources will require transmission additions to access major power markets and serve consumer demands

The Statement of Principles also noted that the organizations agree upon and resolve that policymakers in the United States and Canada are urged to review and improve the regulation of the infrastructure that comprises the electrical grid in order to:

  • Streamline the processes governing economic and environmental review where possible
  • Promote economic and energy efficiency
  • Deliver important environmental benefits
  • Ensure equitable sharing of the cost of needed infrastructure, as appropriate

The Statement of Principles further noted that the organizations resolve that FERC, the U.S. Department of Energy, and state economic regulators should assess the need to improve upon and revise regulatory processes, as well as corresponding regulations and policies governing the planning and cost allocation of high voltage electric transmission, balancing the public’s interest in expedition, cost savings, care of the environment, and an equitable sharing of burdens.

The organizations also resolve that U.S. states as well as Canadian provinces and territories that adopt renewable electric generation requirements for their domestic utilities and other generators should, simultaneously, recognize and take into account the extent to which such policies necessitate the development of additional transmission lines and/or the deployment of advanced technologies.

The Statement of Principles further noted that the organizations resolve that Canadian and U.S. industry leaders, as well as public policymakers, must ensure that investment in grid infrastructure in the two countries responds effectively to threats from extreme weather and cyber intrusion.

As noted in the Statement of Principles, the other organizations that signed the document are the Edison Electric Institute; Energy Systems Integration Group; Great Plains Institute; The GridWise Alliance, Inc.; Grid Strategies LLC; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; National Electric Manufacturers Association; Solar Energy Industries Association; and WaterPower Canada, according to the Statement.