DOE Releases Initial High-Priority Area List for Accelerated Transmission Expansion


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a preliminary list of 10 potential National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETCs) to accelerate the development of transmission projects in areas that present an urgent need for such expansion. 

DOE also announced minimum eligibility criteria for direct loans under the Transmission Facility Financing (TFF) program, which can finance project development in designated NIETCs. 

The department is now seeking public input on both the preliminary list of potential NIETCs and the TFF program application and evaluation process.  

“At more than a century old, our power grid is showing its age, leaving American consumers to bear the costs of maintaining it with frequent and longer power outages from extreme weather,” says U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The Biden-Harris administration is leveraging every tool to expand transmission and deploy more reliable, affordable, and clean power in every pocket of the nation.”

A NIETC designation unlocks federal financing and permitting tools to spur transmission development, including direct loans through the TFF program, public-private partnerships through the Transmission Facilitation Program and federal siting and permitting authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in certain circumstances. 

The potential NIETCs included in the list have one or more potential transmission projects currently under development whose deployment could be accelerated, as well as have the possibility of facilitating the integration of renewable energy resources.

DOE’s announcement initiates Phase 2 of the NIETC designation process, including opening a 45-day window for public comments on the geographic boundaries and potential impacts of these designations on environmental, community and other resources. 

Following Phase 2, the department will prioritize which potential NIETCs move from the preliminary list to Phase 3, during which DOE will draft NIETC designation reports, conduct environmental reviews, proceed with government-to-government consultation with any impacted Tribal Nations as appropriate and engage in public feedback. 

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