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Coordinating Interstate ElectricTransmission Siting: An Introduction to the Debate

In recent years, experts have started drawing att ention to the need to improve the system that transmits electricity from power plants to demand centers. Congestion on existing lines, increased energy demand that suggests a need for new electric transmission and the challenge of connecting renewable energy sources to
load centers highlight some needs that could be underserved by the existing system in the near future. While improved demand-side management (including energy effi ciency and demand response), bett er utilization of the existing transmission grid, and other strategies (such as distributed generation) will be key components of the response taken to meet this challenge, another component may be greater coordinated interstate transmission
siting for new transmission facilities. These eff orts come with their own set of complications, however, since transmission siting has in many respects been the responsibility of individual States. New transmission often faces signifi cant scrutiny, even when limited to a single jurisdiction, based on the concerns of property owners and others aff ected by the siting of these facilities. Interstate facilities can bring the added issues of the assignment of costs and benefi ts across diff erent jurisdictions. The emergence of new Federal roles in siting also adds a layer of detail with which State policymakers must become familiar. Interstate coordination, as
well as federal-State jurisdictional issues that arise, will require careful consideration.