WAKEFIELD, MA: Today, Anbaric Development Partners (Anbaric) filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling for reforms in the transmission planning process. “We’re at an inflection point where the decisions we make today will either allow for offshore wind to scale in a cost-effective and environmentally‑sound manner, or we risk losing significant efficiencies,” said Clarke Bruno, President and CEO of Anbaric.
The comments note the strong industry consensus for planned transmission systems for offshore wind that was expressed at FERC’s October 27, 2020, technical conference. FERC convened the conference in response to barriers identified by Anbaric in an earlier-filed complaint challenging PJM’s interconnection process. “Across current and former regulators, grid operators, and developers of renewable energy, it was clear from the technical conference that there is now widespread recognition that failing to plan transmission for offshore wind is an existential issue for the industry,” said Theodore Paradise, Senior Vice President and Counsel at the company. “The lack of a coordinated, planned transmission system to integrate offshore wind threatens to derail state and federal goals and halt the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and the associated supply chain.”
The comments call for reforms to the interconnection process, which currently is designed with connecting single generators in mind – a process that has led to a proliferation of single-purpose “extension cords” – as well as the regional planning processes, which would proactively plan for more efficient, cost-effective and reliable transmission systems that can move power to different locations and survive single cable failures.
“Planned transmission is recognized as necessary to meet the current state and federal zero-carbon energy goals in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way,” said Janice Fuller, President of Anbaric’s mid-Atlantic operations. “We see New Jersey moving forward under its state-driven initiative to use certain tools that PJM affords to facilitate planned transmission for offshore wind. This is the planning we need to see more of and ensure that there aren’t barriers that make planned transmission artificially difficult.”
Finally, the comments set out FERC’s legal authority to quickly make changes to the transmission planning process. “Transmission takes time and every interconnection we make without the use of planned, shared transmission is another lost opportunity that limits future design choices,” said Paradise. “If we’re going to hit the federal goal of a 50% reduction of CO2 below 2005 levels by 2030 and a carbon-free electricity system by 2035, we need strong federal guidance that will allow for the work on enabling transmission needs to start as soon as possible.”
The comments were filed in Docket No. AD20-18-000. The comments can be viewed here.
Anbaric is a majority employee-owned, US-based company focused on planning and scaling renewable energy. For more information about the company, visit anbaric.com.