The value of electric transmission is significant and well documented. Transmission infrastructure provides customers with a reliable and resilient flow of power, integrates diverse and cost-effective energy resources, enables production cost savings, reduces amounts and costs of planning reserve margins, and increases competition among supply resources for the benefit of customers.1 As part of its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) proceeding, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recognized the significant value provided by transmission system expansion and seeks to promote effective regional and interregional transmission planning. At the same time, FERC is evaluating various means of providing oversight over the transmission development process to ensure consumer protection and cost-effective investment.
To inform the Commission’s decision-making, this report provides a brief review of existing transparency and cost control promoting measures in selected Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) and Independent System Operator (ISO) regions. These measures vary by region, and this paper does not advocate for a single, unified approach for all regions. Instead, this paper seeks to demonstrate that there are multiple existing pathways that offer consumer protections that are independent from competitive bidding procedures under FERC Order No, 1000 (herein referred to as Order No. 1000 competitive bidding). While these procedures are often applied to projects subject to Order No. 1000 competitive bidding, they are also applied more broadly to other project classes and non-competitive projects. This indicates that Order No. 1000 competitive bidding is not a necessary precondition for transparency and cost control, and that traditional regulatory approaches may offer a more streamlined path to achieving these important goals.
This report was prepared on behalf of Developers Advocating Transmission Advancements (DATA).
1 See e.g., Edison Electric Institute, Smarter Energy Infrastructure: The Critical Role and Value of Electric Transmission (March 2019).