This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 12, 2011

Grid Modernization Pilot Projects to Integrate Renewable Energy

Photo large power lines with a city in the background.

Seven electricity transmission projects will be fast-tracked under a new initiative from the Obama Administration.
Credit: Dennis Schroeder, NREL

The Obama Administration announced on October 5 that it would accelerate the permitting and construction of seven proposed electric transmission lines. Project developers expect that the streamlined projects will increase grid capacity and create thousands of jobs in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This move is designed to speed the creation of thousands of construction and operations jobs while transforming the U.S. electric system into a modern grid. The projects will also serve as pilot demonstrations of streamlined federal permitting and increased cooperation at the federal, state, and tribal levels.

In October of 2009, nine federal entities—including DOE, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, as well the EPA, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation—signed a memorandum of understanding increasing their coordination to expedite and simplify building of transmission lines on federal lands. The Administration's recently formed Rapid Response Team for Transmission (RRTT), comprised of these same nine agencies, will accelerate responsible and informed deployment of these seven key transmission facilities. The seven selected pilot project transmission lines are the new 500-kilovolt (kV), 300-mile long Boardman-Hemingway Line powering Oregon and Idaho; the 1,150 mile high-voltage Gateway West Project across Wyoming and Idaho; the 345-kV Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse Line to power Minnesota and Wisconsin; the 210-mile 500-kV Cascade Crossing Line in Oregon; up to two 500-kV SunZia Transmission lines in New Mexico and Arizona; the approximately 145-mile 500-kV Susquehanna to Roseland Line in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and a more than 700-mile, 600-kV Transwest Express for Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. See the DOE press release and the RRTT Web page.