October 5, 2011
Obama Administration Announces Job-Creating Grid Modernization Pilot Projects
Seven Transmission Projects Across 12 States Will Increase Grid Reliability and Integrate Renewable Energies
Washington – Demonstrating its commitment to job creation and modernizing America’s infrastructure, the Obama Administration today announced it would accelerate the permitting and construction of seven proposed electric transmission lines. This move will speed the creation of thousands of construction and operations jobs while transforming the nation’s electric system into a modern, 21st century grid that is safer and more secure, and gives consumers more energy choices.
“The President wants to get America working again. He is committed to cutting red tape and making immediate investments to put people to work modernizing our roads, bridges, airports, and energy systems,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “Building a smarter electric grid will create thousands of American jobs and accelerate the growth of domestic clean energy industries translating into more energy choices and cost savings for American consumers, and a more secure energy future for our country.”
These projects will serve as pilot demonstrations of streamlined federal permitting and increased cooperation at the federal, state, and tribal levels. Project developers expect that the streamlined projects will increase grid capacity and create thousands of jobs in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
“These are the kinds of job-creating projects that the President wants to see across the country,” Sutley said. “The American Jobs Act would make immediate investments in infrastructure, putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job across the country. These investments would not only put people to work now, but also yield lasting benefits for the economy, increasing growth in the long run.”
Building electric transmission lines involves coordination among multiple federal, state, and tribal agencies subject to permitting, review, and consultation. Improving the overall quality and timeliness of these procedures enables the federal government to help expedite new transmission lines. Adding necessary transmission infrastructure will integrate renewable electricity sources into the grid, accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles on America’s roads, help avoid blackouts, restore power more quickly when outages occur, and reduce the need for new power plants.
“Transmission is a vital component of our nation’s energy portfolio, and these seven lines, when completed, will serve as important links across our country to increase our power grid’s capacity and reliability,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “This is the kind of critical infrastructure we should be working together to advance in order to create jobs and move our nation toward energy independence.”
“To compete in the global economy, we need a modern electricity grid,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “An upgraded electricity grid will give consumers choices while promoting energy savings, increasing energy efficiency, and fostering the growth of renewable energy resources.”
“USDA’s collaboration with other agencies to build electric transmission will help to meet our country’s electric needs in the 21st century,” Vilsack said. “These infrastructure projects will also create jobs and opportunities that will strengthen our economy to benefit households and businesses throughout the country.”
"These projects will put Americans to work building the electricity grid of the future - one that allows for more electric vehicles on the road and homes and businesses powered by renewable energy," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said. "This is yet another step forward in our efforts to build a 21st century energy sector in America that is cleaner, healthier and more sustainable."
“A modern, 21st century transmission grid that expands transmission capacity in an efficient, cost-effective manner is critical to ensuring that Americans will have reliable, reasonably priced electricity,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said.
“It’s important that these pilot projects move forward quickly while getting the economic, cultural and sustainability benefits provided by historic preservation reviews,” said Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. “The pilot project approach provides an efficient means to meet our respective agencies’ legislated responsibilities. They benefit the American people while creating a model to streamline future efforts. This is good government at work.”
In October of 2009, nine Federal entities including, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC), 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.
Leveraging this interagency collaboration and expanding the scope of activity beyond 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 by:
Crossing twelve states the RRTT’s seven selected pilot project transmission lines are as follows:
For a map of the transmission line pilot projects please visit: http://trackingsystem.nisc‐llc.com/etrans/utility/Search.seam
For more information on the Rapid Response Team for Transmission please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives
For more information on the Memorandum of Understanding please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/Press_Releases/October_28_2009
For more information contact:
Sahar Wali (CEQ) (202) 395-5428