Challenges and Opportunities
Jim Hoecker is former FERC Chairman, Executive Director and Counsel to WIRES, and Senior Counsel, Husch Blackwell. Michael Skelly is a legendary transmission and renewables developer.
The Embassy of Canada is a stunning building sitting just down the hill from the U.S. Capitol. In that Embassy, that's where the PUF team was sitting on October 24, at the International Summit on the Electric Transmission Grid.
The conference was organized by WIRES, an association focused on development of the grid. Herein we talk with Jim Hoecker, former FERC Chair and executive director of WIRES (he recently retired from WIRES), and legendary transmission and renewables developer Michael Skelly.
What we really wanted to know from Jim and Michael was, what policy or regulatory changes could the U.S. and the states undertake that would significantly accelerate needed transmission development? Especially as the country moves to unprecedented reductions in the emission of climate change gases.
PUF's Steve Mitnick: What would it take as far as federal policies, state policies, to massively accelerate and increase transmission development so we can get more wind and solar from those great areas in the Midwest?
Jim Hoecker: The short answer, Steve, is that we cannot massively accelerate the development of transmission under current circumstances. We can address local or regional reliability or resilience problems. We can work to integrate particular emerging renewable resources. We can replace old technology. But we are running in place right now.