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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has adopted a final rule reforming its decade-old open-access transmission regulatory framework - established in order numbers 888 and 889 - that FERC is hoping will ensure transmission service is provided on a just and reasonable basis, as well as provide for more effective regulation and transparency in the operation of the transmission grid.

"The main duty of the commission in the area of electric regulation is to 'guard the consumer from exploitation by noncompetitive electric power companies,'" says Joseph T. Kelliher, FERC's chairman. "The primary goal of the OATT [open-access transmission tariff] reform final rule is to prevent undue discrimination and preference in transmission service."

After reviewing approximately 6,500 pages of filed comments from nearly 300 parties, the commission adopted a final rule that will increase the ability of customers to access new generating resources by requiring an open, transparent and coordinated transmission planning process; increase efficient use of transmission by eliminating artificial barriers to the grid; facilitate the use of and access to clean energy resources, such as wind power; and strengthen compliance and enforcement efforts.

According to a statement made by Rob Gramlich, the American Wind Energy Association's policy director, the organization supports the reform, but the work does not stop here.

"While the wind industry generally applauds today's action, additional transmission-related barriers remain that are limiting the development of clean, renewable energy," Gramlich says. "At a time when the public is clamoring for policies aimed at reducing our reliance on foreign sources of energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there is still more to be done."

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