FERC Seeks Comment on Potential Reforms to Improve Regional Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation, and Generator Interconnection Processes
On July 15, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission”) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANOPR”) seeking public comment on the potential need for reforms or revisions to existing regional transmission planning, cost allocation, and generator interconnection processes. Pointing to the transforming electricity sector, including growth of new resources seeking to interconnect to the transmission system and renewables located distant from load centers, the Commission seeks comments on whether and which reforms to the Commission’s regulations are necessary to ensure that transmission rates remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential and that reliability is maintained. The Commission made clear it has not predetermined any specific proposal but seeks comments on potential reforms and welcomed commenters to offer additional or alternative proposals.
Within the category of regional transmission planning and cost allocation, the Commission seeks comment on whether transmission providers in each transmission planning region should amend their regional processes to plan for the transmission needs of anticipated future generation to meet a changing resource mix, including generation that is not yet in the interconnection queue. Questions raised in the ANOPR pertaining to regional transmission planning include: whether changes are needed with respect to future scenario modeling, if transmission providers should be required to model geographic zones with high potential for renewable generation development to facilitate interconnection of such resources; whether and how to expand or improve any incentives to incent regional facilities that demonstrably may offer a more efficient or cost-effective solution to an identified need than local alternatives; whether reforms to the interregional transmission coordination processes are warranted, including potentially requiring interregional transmission planning; and whether reforms are needed to improve the coordination between regional transmission planning and generator interconnection processes.