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Governors push transmission development at meeting with US FERC

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Governors push transmission development at meeting with US FERC


Several governors have created a plan to boost power transmission development and improve state and regional cooperation following a meeting with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition said Friday.

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The coalition is made up of 23 states working to improve wind energy's access to power markets, with transmission development a key element of their work. The governors met with FERC officials recently to discuss ways both FERC and states can boost deployment of wind power in the US.

"The value of wind energy resources to our states' economies cannot be unlocked unless they have access to a market," said South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, chairman of the coalition. "Long-distance transmission is the critical link between these resources and the customers who want clean and less expensive energy."

The governors intend to remove state legislative barriers to transmission siting, such as those that do not allow state regulators to consider various benefits beyond state boundaries as part of transmission siting cases, the group said. They also plan to support state and regional cooperation on transmission development, pointing to plans in the Southwest Power Pool and Midcontinent Independent System Operator as successful initiatives that gained FERC support.

Besides working with FERC at the federal level, the coalition plans to examine how the Environmental Protection Agency's expected rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants could benefit wind power development.

Although FERC commissioners and governors have different perspectives, "we all agree the revitalization of the nation's electrical transmission system must be a national priority and accomplished on a regional and cooperative multi-state basis," said Washington Governor Jay Inslee, vice chairman of the coalition.

The transmission grid "is as important today to our states' economic development as the nation's interstate highway system was 50 years ago," Inslee said in a statement.

--Tom Tiernan,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,