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The NOPR Was Late

But transmission planning, as we know it, may never be the same.

Fortnightly Magazine - August 2011

attempts to introduce real competition to grid siting and construction.

For example, while FERC OK’d a revised transmission planning process (RTPP) last December for the California ISO—a regime designed expressly to replace ad hoc, project-based planning with an open and bottom-up needs-based process—concerns remain that FERC Order 2003 still provides a way for incumbent utility transmission owners to bypass the RTPP and claim rights to build the lines sought by power plant developers to connect their new generating units to the grid.

Thus, on April 29, California Public Utilities Commission president Michael Peevey took time to write to California ISO President and CEO Yakout Mansour, complaining that “numerous projects submitted for consideration by independent transmission developers have all been rejected as unnecessary,” even as utilities were using the generator interconnection process to capture grid construction deals from plant developers.

“The net result,” Peevey wrote, “appears to be a total reliance on IOU transmission development and a significant step back from the use of competitive solicitations for transmission projects, despite the … revised transmission planning process that was laboriously crafted in consultation with stakeholders.”

“This,” Peevey added, “is disappointing.”

Meanwhile, the NOPR would leave FERC’s generator interconnection rules exactly as they are.