The Transmission Permitting and Technical Assistance (TPTA) Division assists state, regional, and tribal entities in their efforts to address the changing energy environment. These activities include:
Coordination of Federal Transmission Authorizations
Section 1221(a) of EPACT added Section 216(h) to the Federal Power Act, which requires that DOE act as the lead agency for purposes of coordinating all applicable Federal authorizations and related environmental reviews required to site an electric transmission facility. DOE and eight other Federal agencies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding and DOE is considering the need for regulations to further implement its responsibilities under Section 216(h).
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act was enacted on December 4, 2015. Title 41 of that act (FAST-41) established new coordination and oversight procedures for infrastructure projects being reviewed by federal agencies.
Energy Corridors on Federal Lands
Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) directs the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and Interior to designate, under their respective authorities, corridors for oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution facilities on Federal lands in the 11 contiguous Western States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), to perform any required environmental reviews, and to incorporate the designated corridors into relevant agency land use and resource management plans or equivalent plans. Section 368 also directs the agencies to take into account the need for upgraded and new infrastructure and to take actions to improve reliability, relieve congestion, and enhance the capability of the national grid to deliver energy. EPAct also calls for identifying corridors in the other 39 states and to expedite processes for future projects in these energy corridors
National Electric Transmission Congestion Study
OE performs ongoing analysis of the Eastern and Western Interconnects to identify major electric transmission constraints. EPACT requires DOE to publish a National Electric Transmission Congestion Study every three years. Studies were published in 2015, 2009, and 2006.
Presidential Permits and Export Authorizations
OE authorizes the export of electric energy to Canada and Mexico and issues permits for the construction, connection, operation, and/or maintenance of electric transmission facilities at the international border so all three countries can more fully realize economic and reliability benefits.
Federal Power Act Section 202(c) Emergency Orders
Under FPA section 202(c) during the continuance of a war in which the United States is engaged or when an emergency exists by reason of a sudden increase in the demand for electric energy, or a shortage of electric energy, or of facilities for the generation or transmission of electric energy, or of the fuel or water for generating facilities, or other causes, the Secretary of Energy may require by order temporary connections of facilities, and generation, delivery, interchange, or transmission of electricity as the Secretary determines will best meet the emergency and serve the public interest. 16 U.S.C. § 824a(c).