Kathy Castor Introduces the Enhancing Electric Grid Resilience Act

Last week, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is expected to be ended when the GOP takes control of the chamber at the start of the new year, brought out the “Enhancing Electric Grid Resilience Act.”

Castor’s office insisted the bill will “improve our electric grid, expand access to clean energy, and slash electric bills for Americans by improving cost allocation for priority transmission lines.” The bill also “encourages broad cost allocation for transmission facilities of national significance consistent with the ‘beneficiary pays’ principle.”

The congresswoman’s office offered some of the reasons why she brought the proposal out.

“As the United States moves away from costly and volatile fossil fuels, utilities are increasingly using cheap domestic renewable resources, including wind and solar energy, to power homes and businesses. Building new transmission lines is a crucial step to continue this expansion of cleaner, cheaper energy. With power companies approving new transmission projects and deciding who will pay for them, the Enhancing Electric Grid Resilience Act would improve cost allocation by establishing the ‘beneficiary pays’ principle, defining benefits broadly to include grid reliability and resilience benefits as well as savings from access to renewable energy,” Castor’s office noted.

“Upgrading the electric grid is a crucial step to enhance resilience and reliability and slash electric bills across the United States,” Castor said. “We need to build new transmission projects that will expand the reach of clean energy and reduce costs for American households, as cheap electricity flows through a less-congested grid and right into their communities. Building more of these transmission lines can also allow electricity to quickly move to where it’s needed, helping keep the lights on in the face of extreme weather. As Congress works to ensure that families have access to electricity in the event of worsening wildfires, floods, droughts, and climate-fueled disasters, it’s important that we strengthen our electric grid and produce real savings for Americans.”

Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and Grid Strategies are backing Castor’s bill.

“Every path to 100 percent clean energy requires a dramatic increase in transmission capacity, and a significant hurdle to effective transmission buildout is cost allocation for multi-state lines,” said Christina Hayes, the executive director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid.“We are excited to see legislation that provides an opportunity to seek cost recovery through well-established processes for both on- and offshore transmission and establish clear guidance on which facilities qualify for the cost allocation framework. We believe this bill will support construction of interstate transmission lines needed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable and reliable energy.”

“This bill would help with the biggest barrier to new transmission: lack of decisions about cost allocation. I applaud any supporter of this policy,” said Rob Gramlich, the president of Grid Strategies.

Castor’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. So far, there are no House co-sponsors and no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Kevin Derby
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