Certificates of Need
Supporting renewables in regulatory agency proceedings
Clean Grid Alliance frequently supports transmission lines that are beneficial for wind development through the application for a certificate of need, which is required from regulatory agencies like public utilities commissions.
In order to deliver a renewable energy future, wind energy needs to be harnessed from the windiest areas of the country and delivered to the areas with the largest electricity demand. To get wind energy to market, physical bottlenecks in the high voltage transmission system need to be removed and new transmission built. Existing transmission corridors are largely congested, even before new wind resources inject their energy into the grid.
Before a transmission line can be built and placed into service the state utility regulatory agency must determine that the line is needed. Each state has its own definition of need, but typically it includes factors such as achieving or improving reliability, relieving congestion on the system, increasing competition in electric markets, lowering electric rates, or helping fulfill state or federal policy directives such as renewable energy standards or the Clean Power Plan.
Utility companies or merchant transmission developers are the entities who typically seek a certificate of need from the state regulatory agency. The certificate of need process may also include review and approval of the siting and routing of the line. The process for granting a certificate of need is an open stakeholder process in which the public can file comments and interested parties can intervene to file testimony in a docket managed by the public utilities commission.
Clean Grid Alliance frequently intervenes in state certificate of need proceedings to support new transmission lines that are important for developing wind and solar resources.