The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says it will work more closely with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in reviewing proposed electric transmission projects under Section 216 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) instead of delegating additional authority to FERC.
Under this arrangement, the DOE and FERC will work together to prepare drafts of transmission congestion studies mandated by Congress; supplements to those congestion studies based on, among other things, the transmission plans prepared pursuant to Orders 890 and 1000; and the environmental analyses for any proposed National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (National Corridors).
In addition, the DOE has announced plans to do the following:
- Immediately begin to identify targeted areas of congestion based on the evaluation of existing information and on comments submitted by stakeholders;
- Identify narrower areas of congestion than the broad areas previously studied; and
- Solicit statements of interest from transmission developers while considering what National Corridors to designate.
The DOE, FERC and other federal agencies have been considering whether it might be appropriate for Chu to delegate his powers under the FPA to FERC in order to efficiently expedite consideration of transmission-project proposals under the limited backstop siting powers authorized by that section.
In July and August, the proposal was presented to stakeholder groups to solicit comments. Chu carefully considered these comments in deciding not to delegate his authority to FERC, the DOE says.