Opponents of the latest federal rule on transmission planning have re-emerged to lodge complaints as the regulation awaits implementation.
A group representing seven utilities, the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy filed a request for a rehearing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000 on Tuesday, calling the regulation “inconsistent with its stated objectives.” Though it has long been policy for all the utilities of a geographic region to pay together for new transmission lines, new renewable energy projects that require extensive new infrastructure are straining the model.
“If not corrected on rehearing, the Final Rule could result in higher costs to many consumers, preemption of public utility and state prerogatives to determine and decide what generation resources best meet the reliability and economic needs of consumers and public policy requirements, and inefficiencies in competitive electric markets,” the coalition’s request stated.
For more detailed information about FERC Order 100, read: As Plain As Can Be: FERC Order 1000 In Simple Language.
While utilities only have to pay for transmission projects that directly benefit their consumers, debate has stirred over the extent of the term ‘benefit’ and how that can be determined. According to the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, renewable energy projects in some regions, for example, do not necessarily benefit all consumers and therefore costs for electric transmission servicing those projects should be transferred only to those customers that choose renewable generation.
In a mid-July interview, head of the coalition Bruce Edelston told Breaking Energy that while FERC has traditionally regulated transmission across state borders –and the coalition has no problem with that concept–the language of the most recent proposal does not protect incumbent power generators from irresponsible transmission projects proposed by newer generation companies. Read more: Energy Stakeholders Ask Senate To Oppose Transmission Bill.
Ultimately the transmission projects with shared costs across a region should be the ones that are absolutely necessary for that region and legitimately fill specific needs, the coalition said in its request for a rehearing.
And, utilities should be allowed to opt out of inter-regional projects with the same flexibility as they might with regional projects, the coalition said.
“Unless these issues are properly dealt with on rehearing, electric consumers could face higher costs as a result of Order No. 1000,” the coalition said.