WASHINGTON – Recently, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper joined Senators Whitehouse and Heinrich and Representatives Quigley, Peters, and Casten to reintroduce the Streamlining Interstate Transmission of Electricity (SITE) Act, a bill that would remove one of the largest barriers to building new, large-scale electric transmission lines needed to reduce energy bills, make the grid more resilient, and bring on new, low-cost energy sources.
“Trying to move power without large-scale transmission is like trying to ship goods across the country using county roads,” said Hickenlooper. “Large-scale transmission lines are the highways of our electrical grid, and our bill is going to help unleash a future of affordable, American-made energy.”
The bill would establish a new federal siting authority at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ease the process of constructing inter-state transmission lines that are needed to modernize our electrical grid and compete with other advanced economies. Since 2014, Europe has built more than six times as much large-scale, inter-regional transmission as the US, and China has built over 30 times as much.
In the US, a 2020 FERC report commissioned by Congress highlighted the significant hurdles posed to new, large-scale transmission by the complex and intensive coordination that is currently required between states, federal agencies, regulators, industry, and local landowners.
“As our energy industry undergoes its most rapid and consequential transformation in generations, we must be able to build projects on reasonable timelines and at low cost,” said Hickenlooper. “Our bill will cut red tape, streamline electric grid permitting, and bring more affordable electricity to American families.”