Why a National Energy Policy Is Essential for a Clean Energy Future
An economy-wide cap on global warming pollution and a strong federal renewable electricity standard should be central to our national energy policy. At the same time we need a workable federal process that increases the electricity grid’s reliability and efficiency and maximizes the integration of renewable resources within it.
New transmission lines will be needed to connect our nation’s rich renewable energy resources with distant population centers. To get the job done, we’ll need to reform how transmission lines are planned, sited, built and managed. States and regions should be encouraged to work out transmission agreements, but the federal government should be able to step in when states can’t agree. Legislation giving the federal government that authority would ensure that needed transmission lines can be built in a timely manner.
A federal system of transmission oversight and planning must be carefully designed to advance national policies on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change. It must ensure that the transmission planning process involves a broad array of stakeholders, including states, utilities, developers, environmentalists, ratepayers and unions to address immediate concerns and avoid delays later in the process. Additionally, it should take into account state, regional and utility analyses and initiatives already underway. Most importantly, it must ensure that new transmission plans are environmentally responsible and protect sensitive lands and important natural and cultural resources.