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Comments to DOE on National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Request for Information regarding its program to designate National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors in areas with a need for new electric transmission capacity. Once a corridor has been designated, transmission developers gain potential access to federal funding programs and, in certain cases, the ability to apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for “backstop-siting authorization,” which can include eminent domain authority if approved. (See our earlier comments on backstop-siting authority here.) We submitted comments to DOE recommending that the agency require some additional information from applicants: how a project in a designated corridor would cause power plants to increase or decrease emissions in response to the new transmission capacity and how environmental justice communities would be affected. We also recommended that DOE review applications in groups to best account for the interconnected nature of the electric grid. Finally, we recommended that DOE standardize certain modeling techniques and inputs to increase the accuracy of developers’ applications and to enable DOE to conduct apples-to-apples comparisons.