New FERC Transmission Rules to Benefit Carbon Environmental Taxpayers / Public News Service

New energy transmission rules from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission target states like Colorado as they seek a shift to renewable energy and combat climate change.

Planners hope the power grid regulations will bring new power lines and make it easier to add more wind and solar energy to the mix.

Veronica Ung-Kono, staff attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, said Colorado’s current longline network is facing major challenges due to a warming climate.

“Increased risks of catastrophic forest fires, increased likelihood of droughts, the heat waves we saw in 2020, increased flood risks, negative impacts from the state ski industry,” Ung-Kono outlined. “All of these impacts largely stem from climate change.”

Ung-Kono acknowledged that the new plan signals a forward-looking approach by federal authorities. The regulations require grid operators to identify needs twenty years into the future, taking into account factors such as the need for wind and solar energy and the risks of extreme weather.

Ung-Kono argued that a resilient and well-planned electric grid is critical to ensuring Colorado and other states can transition to clean energy while meeting the economy’s energy needs. She noted that the current system needs to be strengthened to meet the growing demand.

“The pressure on our country’s energy infrastructure is high,” Ung-Kono emphasizes. “Energy demand is increasing, while increasingly severe weather conditions and changing energy needs are putting pressure on already overloaded systems.”

She added that the commission’s settlement rule takes into account tribal nations and indigenous peoples and is a rule that provides environmental justice to marginalized communities.

“This is the first time we have seen the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission specifically seek to advance the priorities and needs of these populations while balancing the needs of wildlife,” Ung-Kono emphasized.

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