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Hickenlooper Advocates for Permitting Reform in Senate Hearing

Jul 27, 2023

WASHINGTON – Yesterday,U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper advocated for commonsense permitting reform measures in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) hearing on energy project permitting and as part of a bipartisan panel on clean energy permitting reform hosted by The Hill.

View Hickenlooper’s full exchange with witnesses from both panels at the Senate ENR hearing HERE and HERE and view his full remarks at The Hill’s Clean Energy Permitting Reform: The Path Ahead event, beginning at 1:16:00, HERE.

On how the Hickenlooper-Peters BIG WIRES Act would help better facilitate the delivery of inexpensive, reliable, clean electricity:

“BIG Wires is about trying to make sure we can get the power to where it is needed…Think of it like the interstate highway system. When you [would] drive through big chunks of the country, where there was no interstate, it took you forever to go 100 miles. That is sort of what we have with transmission lines. We have big chunks where we don’t have the capacity to move large amounts of electricity from one place to the other.”

View the rest of Hickenlooper’s remarks at The Hill’s event HERE.

On the importance of minimum-transfer capability standards between regions:

Hickenlooper: “This concept of ‘minimum-transfer requirements’ – which would require regions to be able to move some share of their peak load with their neighbors – proved a popular idea among state regulators from Kansas to Arkansas to your own Maryland. Can you speak to how minimum-transfer requirements could help address current reliability shortfalls on the grid, while maintaining autonomy for states to chart their own energy futures?”

Mr. Jason Stanek, Former Chairman of Maryland Public Service Commission: “I’ve been on record that having some minimum transfer capacity between regions is important. And, it is important – not only for reliability and resilience – but it is important for assisting neighbors during times of need. We’ve seen the effects of Winter Storm Uri. We saw the effects more recently of Winter Storm Elliott, when PJM desperately relied on the assistance of one of our neighbors, NYISO, to export power to. The fact is there is no minimum standard currently, and by including a minimum standard, we will ensure that across the county regions will be able to either import or export power to their neighbors.”

Stanek added that while “it will always be hard to determine a number… there is wisdom in picking a number as opposed to having a multi-year process at FERC to determine what that number should be.”

View Hickenlooper’s full exchange with the witnesses from the first panel, HERE.

On the need for movement on the BIG WIRES Act:

Hickenlooper: “Right now, the new projects coming online face long studies and incredible costs to interconnect – sometimes into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Along with Representative Scott Peters, we’ve been working on a forthcoming bill – the BIG WIRES Act – which would require a minimum amount of transmission between regions. How would something like the BIG WIRES Act – that helps break the logjam – how would it add to facilitating wind, solar, gas, and storage projects that are piling up in interconnection queues, and what that would mean for reliability and affordability?”

Ms. Kelly Speakes-Backman, Executive Vice President, Invenergy: “Thank you for your work and leadership on the BIG WIRES act. We at Invenergy are highly supportive of the bill setting a minimum criteria for import and export capacity. Transmission helps accommodate new generation projects, which in turn help to strengthen the grid. It is a symbiotic relationship. An example of how transmission can really help to accommodate new generation projects is in Texas: the CREZ program. They constructed more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines in addition to the 18,000 megawatts of new clean energy projects that they put together for consumers, which lowered prices. It helped reliability and resilience, and it is exactly the type of measurable and metric driven transmission buildout as well as new technologies to make existing transmission more efficient that is important to help spur more generation on the clean energy side.”  

View Hickenlooper’s full exchange with the witnesses from the second panel, HERE.


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