When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the vision for the interstate system was clear—create a more efficient way for motorists to travel long distances through a network of high-capacity, high-speed motorways. Since its inception, the interstate highway network has evolved to continue to meet changing transportation needs.
Like the interstate highway system, much of the nation’s electric transmission system also was built in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. However, when the electric transmission system was built it was not designed to facilitate cross-country movement of electricity, rather it was designed to transfer electricity from local generators to local customers. Today, we continue to expect more and more from the transmission grid without the appropriate investment to ensure reliability is job one —especially in the wake of super storms, polar vortices and aging transmission infrastructure.
Agreement on national priorities in Washington is as difficult as permitting high-voltage transmission projects. But agreement on both is essential. The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission’s Order No. 1000 regulatory proceeding holds the promise of development of regional and interregional transmission projects that will serve customers in a reliable, cost-effective and sustainable way.
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