The new transmission siting and permitting policies could be just as messy and unruly as the old ones.
Anyone who has followed electric transmission siting knows that it has been a contentious affair. The transmission-siting process would take years to resolve (if not decades), and keeping up with the many arguments, counterarguments, and lawsuits among involved parties was like trying to keep track of a high-school food fight never quite brought under control.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) was supposed to bring discipline to that wild process by giving the federal government permitting authority in certain circumstances, and by legislating that the Department of Energy (DOE) select and designate geographic areas as National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETC).
The idea behind the NIETC is a noble one: to help facilitate the construction of badly needed transmission capacity to relieve congestion problems and improve reliability. In fact, the promotion of new infrastructure investment is at the heart of EPACT.
But there’s just one problem. The new process for permitting and siting electric transmission under EPACT appears to be as flawed and contentious as it was pre-EPACT.
So watch out for flying celery.