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    March 23, 2023 - States News Service


      The following information was released by the office of Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley:

      Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Co-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Streamlining Interstate Transmission of Electricity (SITE) Act, legislation focused on improving our nation's power infrastructure and streamlining the regulatory process to help put the country on the path to a sustainable future.

      "Without increasing transmission capacity we will be unable to end our reliance on fossil fuels and bring clean, renewable energy sources online. I am reintroducing the SITE Act, to eliminate barriers that have long stood in our way," said Quigley. "By establishing a new federal siting authority for interregional transmission projects, we can streamline the approval process, and guarantee that the clean energy investments made in the Inflation Reduction Act benefit Americans in every part of the country. Preparing our electric grid for the clean energy future cannot be postponed. We must prioritize this endeavor to safeguard our clean energy future."

      "If we don't build more long-range transmission lines, much of the low-cost clean energy that is coming online will simply not be able to get to the homes and businesses that need it. Our SITE Act would increase grid reliability, upgrade the nation's creaky grid infrastructure, and lower emissions while responsibly balancing local needs and preferences," said Whitehouse.

      Specifically, the SITE Act will establish a new federal siting authority at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to smooth the process of constructing long-range, inter-regional high voltage transmission lines. These transmission lines are a necessary step in the transition to renewable energy. Presently, these projects face significant hurdles due to the complex and intensive coordination required between states, federal agencies, regulators, industry, and local landowners. The new siting authority created by the SITE Act will eliminate some of those barriers. Additionally, the SITE Act will create new eminent domain authority under the Federal Power Act to prevent abuses with transmission siting.

      "We commend Congressman Quigley for reintroducing the SITE Act, which directly takes on the need to expand the nation's transmission infrastructure to address the climate crisis. Studies show that to achieve the potential of the Inflation Reduction Act and meet our greenhouse emission targets, we need to more than double the historical rate of siting new transmission. An expanded transmission system would also enhance the reliability of our grid, reducing dangerous electricity outages during increasingly frequent severe weather events, and access inexpensive renewable resources that lower costs for electricity consumers. Sadly, it is today difficult, time-consuming, and nearly impossible to site, permit, and construct transmission, with many interregional lines taking well over a decade to complete," said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO, of American Council on Renewable Energy.

      "A modern, 21st century grid is critical for providing American families and businesses with access to the nation's abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy. Modernizing our grid will create thousands of good-paying jobs, lower electricity costs and protect customers across the country from power outages due to extreme weather events. The American Clean Power Association commends Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Quigley for their leadership on this important issue, and we look forward to continuing to work with them and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as the SITE Act moves through the legislative process," said Jason Grumet, CEO of the American Clean Power Association.

      "Unless the U.S. dramatically accelerates the build-out of much-needed transmission infrastructure, we cannot meet our clean energy goals, improve grid reliability, or help consumers save money. Right now, many transmission projects are caught up in overlapping, inefficient, outdated, and unpredictable siting and permitting processes that prevent them from coming online on time and on budget. This is especially true of large interstate transmission lines that could deliver the greatest cost savings and reliability benefits to customers. The SITE Act represents an important step toward taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to building transmission. States must continue to play an active and important role in transmission planning, cost allocation, and siting and permitting, but we also need to empower federal regulators to work with states, tribes, and other stakeholders to get the biggest and hardest projects across the finish line. The SITE Act does that," said Caitlin Marquis, Managing Director of Advanced Energy United

      "Upgrading our electric grid is a major undertaking, but an absolutely essential one if the U.S. wants to bring new renewable resources online and ensure the long-term security of our energy system. This legislation would significantly improve the process of siting much-needed transmission projects. By establishing new siting authority at FERC for certain high-value projects, the SITE Act provides one-stop siting for multi-state transmission lines while still maintaining critical opportunities for environmental and community review. These proposals are critical to make the modern grid a reality," said Christina Hayes, Executive Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid

      "With Americans' rapidly expanding electrification needs and new power generation coming online, our aging grid needs significant updating, and high-capacity electricity transmission is critical. But because of bureaucratic red tape, interstate transmission lines are in a gridlock. The SITE Act will undo this gridlock, freeing these high-capacity, multi-state transmission lines to bring power where needed, increase competition, and improve our grid's reliability. The bill also carefully addresses impacted landowner concerns, providing more clarity and cohesion when a project exercises eminent domain authority," said Corey Schrodt, Government Affairs Manager, Climate Policy at the Niskanen Center.


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