Joe Biden’s Government approved new regulations to modernize the US electrical grid

Joe Biden’s Government approved new regulations to modernize the US electrical grid
Joe Biden’s Government approved new regulations to modernize the US electrical grid

FERC takes a step forward in the modernization of the United States electrical grid (Europa Press)

The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took a historic step this Monday by approving a set of new regulations designed to modernize and expand the electrical grid of the country, which could result in a significant boost to the wind power and solar.

The decision, which could facilitate the construction of thousands of kilometers of new high-voltage lines, seeks to address growing concerns about the current capacity of the grid to meet future electricity demand and its adaptation to renewable energy sources, according to confirmed the agency Reuters.

The changes implemented represent the Major modifications to the planning and financing of US power grids in more than a decade, signaling an effort on the part of the FERC for “plan our national electricity grid for the long term“, in the words of Willie Phillipspresident of the commission, cited by The New York Times.

The new regulations will favor the development of wind and solar energy (REUTERS/Paul Hanna)

This new approach demands network operators to identify needs 20 years in advanceincorporating factors such as the change in the energy mix, the increasing number of states that require wind and solar energyand the risks associated with extreme weather.

According to him Timesthe guidelines call for grid planners to evaluate the potential benefits of new transmission lines, such as reducing electricity costs or reducing the risk of blackouts, and develop methods to divide the costs of these lines between consumers and businesses.

These efforts to modernize the power grid come at a critical time, as “our aging power grid is being tested in ways never seen before,” according to Phillips. The vote to approve the rule ended 2-1, with opposition from the lone Republican commissioner, Mark Christie, who argued that the rule would allow states with renewable energy ambitions to unfairly pass on the costs of necessary upgrades to their states. neighbors.

Thousands of kilometers of new high voltage lines are anticipated after FERC approval (REUTERS/Lisi Niesner)

This decision also aims to meet the growing demand in the country for construction projects. wind, solar and battery energywhich amount to more than 11,000 proposals, many of which are stalled due to the insufficient capacity of the current network to accommodate them.

In a context where individual developers are currently required to pay for the grid improvements necessary for their projects, this new rule suggests a more collective and planned approach, spreading costs across a broader set of energy providers and users.

Background such as approval by the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) of $10.3 billion in new power lines show that it is possible generate up to $69 billion in total profits from such investments, benefiting even those states without specific renewable energy policies but that would share in the returns.

The FERC decision can change the future of electricity demand and adaptation to renewable energies (EFE/Alejandro Bolívar)

However, the effective implementation of this rule depends on how grid operators carry it out, and there is some skepticism about its impact in regions where large utilities may resist the development of new transmission lines.

Additionally, while the regulation covers network planning within 12 major regions of the country, it does not include transmission planning to connect these different regions to each other, which some experts say represents an even greater need.

In a related but separate measure, the FERC also outlined certain situations in which it could override state objections to a subset of new power lines, in an attempt to streamline the federal permitting process for certain large transmission lines.

Despite these efforts, the completion of new long-distance transmission lines continues to face significant logistical and political challenges, including the time it takes to locate a project across numerous jurisdictions and obtain permits from a patchwork of different federal and state agencies. .

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