National Advisory Committee
Interstate Transmission Line Siting
By Crady deGolian, CSG Senior Policy Analyst
A national advisory panel comprised of state legislators, federal agency representatives and other key stakeholders met for the first time July 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C., to examine the potential for interstate compacts to improve the efficiency of electricity transmission line siting.
The panel was convened by The Council of State Governments, through its National Center for Interstate Compacts, and was co-chaired by Reps. Kim Koppelman of North Dakota and Tom Sloan of Kansas.
“The electric transmission grid is outdated,” Koppelman said. “Solutions have not been implemented because consensus hasn’t been reached, but states favor cooperative solutions over federal pre-emption. An interstate compact could be the vehicle for states to jointly craft a solution that delivers energy from where it’s produced to where it’s needed.”
During the meeting, Koppelman, Sloan and other panel members discussed transmission line siting, learned about interstate compacts and explored the challenges that hinder the existing system for siting electricity transmission lines. Although lines continue to be sited and built under the current system, the group agreed that the idea of a compact is worth exploring if it could improve efficiency.
“CSG’s sponsorship of this meeting represents a key step toward developing a coordinated, more robust national high voltage transmission line system. Collaboration by state legislators, regional transmission operators, the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission represents a very significant step in moving from transmission discussions to construction.” said Sloan.
Interstate compacts function, legally, as a contract between the states. There are more than 200 interstate compacts and most states belong to more than 20 different agreements.
The advisory panel agreed to continue discussion about the use of compacts to help facilitate transmission line siting. Members will likely meet again in Washington in September.
CSG, through its National Center for Interstate Compacts and with guidance from the national advisory panel, is uniquely qualified to lead this effort toward greater efficiency in electricity transmission line siting cooperation with its more than 75 years of experience in forging interstate compacts.