By Kevin Stark
It’s never been easy to send power across this country, but changing politics, technology and customer expectations have made it even more complicated in recent years.
That was a theme of a panel discussion on long-distance transmission last week at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute called “The Future of Energy Infrastructure in the U.S. and Implications for Clean Energy.”
Here is some of what ComEd Executive Vice President Terence Donnelly, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission CEO Jon Wellinghoff, and others had to say about the evolving challenges facing the movement of electricity:
Transmission projects face more regulatory hurdles than pipelines. Regulations on building large-scale transmission lines are much more onerous compared to the construction of a gas pipeline. That’s a problem, as it makes it more difficult to send power from wind and solar rich rural areas to busy places with high demand. FERC has large permitting authority over interstate gas lines, but transmission lines are permitted at the state or local level. Many transmission projects get tripped up. “Transmission lines have to go through each state and each state agency. Plus, all the federal agencies that may be involved. They have all that to deal with while pipelines have a one-stop shop with FERC,” Wellinghoff said.
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