US Unveils Sweeping Transmission Permitting Reform and $331m Investment in Grid Expansion

In a bid to bolster grid capacity across the western , the US Government has announced a comprehensive overhaul of transmission permitting rules alongside a substantial $331 million commitment aimed at adding 2,000 megawatts (MW) of power.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled a final rule establishing the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorization and Permits (CITAP) Program. This initiative seeks to streamline environmental reviews and federal permitting processes, setting a standard two-year timeline for qualifying projects.

Simultaneously, a significant portion of the $331 million funding, allocated through President Biden's , will support the construction of a new transmission line stretching from Idaho to Nevada. Scheduled to kick off in 2025, the 285-mile Southwest Inertie Project-North line aims to enhance regional connectivity and reliability.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm affirmed the administration's commitment to expanding access to power, stating, “The Biden-Harris Administration is doing everything everywhere to get more power to more people, in more places.” Granholm emphasized the urgency of implementing a historic revamp of the permitting process to expedite the deployment of new transmission , thereby addressing present and future energy demands.

Elise Caplan, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at the American Council on , lauded the establishment of the CITAP Program for its potential to streamline permitting processes while fostering community engagement. Caplan remarked, “DOE's creation of the CITAP Program will add much-needed efficiencies to the permitting of high-voltage lines undergoing National Environmental Policy Act environmental studies while also ensuring early and meaningful community engagement.”

Furthermore, Caplan highlighted the significance of the Southwest Intertie Project as a pivotal investment in expanding the nation's transmission capacity. She noted, “The advancement of the Southwest Intertie Project through the innovative Transmission Facilitation Program is an important investment in expanding America's transmission capacity.”

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