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Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has introduced the Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act, which is intended to promote investments in transmission to increase access to renewable power, while also establishing a streamlined planning and siting process for transmission lines.

Provisions of the proposed legislation include the following:

- designation of renewable energy zones, which are areas that can generate in excess of 1 GW of electricity from renewable energy, include rural areas or federal land, and have insufficient transmission capacity to achieve their renewable energy generation potential;

- participatory and transparent transmission planning on an interconnection-wide basis for green transmission projects to integrate renewable electricity resources from renewable energy zones into the transmission grid;

- permission for transmission project developers to apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for federal backstop siting for green transmission projects that are part of the green transmission grid plan and integrate renewable energy resources from renewable energy zones, or for transmission projects that FERC determines are needed to integrate renewable generation resources;

- authorization for the Department of Energy, in consultation with FERC, to make grants to states and planning entities to implement the planning and siting described in the bill for transmission improvements, including smart-grid investments, training for state public utility commission staff, mitigation of landowner concerns, security upgrades to the transmission system, energy storage and distributed generation projects.

SOURCE: Office of Sen. Harry Reid


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