The Brattle Groups Peter Fox-Penner Calls On Governors to Lead Regional Improvements in Electricity Transmission Planning

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WASHINGTON, July 20 /-USNewswire/ -- At the National Governors Association Annual Meeting yesterday in Biloxi, Mississippi, Dr. Peter Fox-Penner, principal and chairman emeritus of The Brattle Group, called upon governors to take the lead in creating successful proposals to reform transmission policy, starting at the regional level.

Testifying before the Natural Resources Committee, Dr. Fox-Penner noted that there are several obstacles preventing an effective U.S. transmission policy, including inadequate planning processes and lack of agreement in determining transmission project benefits and cost allocation. While the amount of transmission construction needed to meet renewables portfolio standard (RPS) targets and climate goals is economically and technically achievable, projects are not being approved quickly enough to build the 20,000 to 40,000 miles needed by 2030. In addition, some stakeholders are too heavily focused on a nationwide transmission superhighway, a concept that is viewed by many as displacing the opportunity for regional renewable energy development.

"The need for transmission planning and siting reform is not synonymous with a giant national grid and the loss of local renewable development. Nor should we give short shrift to energy efficiency and distributed generation - in a good resource planning process, these come first," Dr. Fox-Penner said. "The critical need is to create a regional process that integrates least-cost planning, cost allocation, and siting on an accelerated timetable."

Dr. Fox-Penner, a former U.S. Department of Energy senior official under President Clinton, noted that there are several encouraging developments at the regional level, such as SPP's and the Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative's (UMTDI's) ongoing planning and cost allocation efforts. He also acknowledged that a robust federal role was necessary in order to set guidelines for regional processes and approve interstate cost allocations. Nevertheless, he urged the governors to take the lead in shaping the new energy economy, concluding that "the states must not just be one of the change agents, but the leading change agent, in creating integrated regional processes. Without your leadership in this area we will not achieve our climate and renewable goals."

Dr. Fox-Penner's complete statement is available for download at www.brattle.com.

The Brattle Group provides consulting services and expert testimony in economics and finance to corporations, law firms, and public agencies worldwide. Areas of expertise include antitrust and competition, valuation and damages, utility regulatory policy and ratemaking, and regulation and planning in network industries. For more information, please visit www.brattle.com.

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