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Contextualizing Electric Transmission Permitting: Data from 2010 to 2020

March 18, 2024 Category: Infrastructure

Electric transmission is essential to maintaining grid reliability while meeting growing electricity demand, connecting new generation and storage to the grid, and advancing affordability by relieving congestion. Federal permitting is cited as a challenge to the development of energy infrastructure and, in particular, electric transmission lines. New transmission lines that constitute a major federal action with significant effects on the environment are subject to the preparation and review of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), the most thorough environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The recent debate over the need for electric transmission permitting reform reveals uncertainties about how federal permitting impacts the ability to add new transmission lines to the bulk power system in the United States. To better inform policy debates about a topic critical to maintaining a reliable, affordable grid, this report comprehensively assesses how federal permitting impacted new transmission lines added to the U.S. bulk power system from 2010 to 2020.