We submitted comments to FERC providing recommendations for how it can clarify and improve reforms proposed in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing transmission planning and cost allocation. If finalized, the rulemaking would require planning entities to undertake long-term transmission planning. Our comments recommend that FERC clarify (at a high level) what it means to undertake long-term planning over a 20-year time horizon. We also recommend more specific improvements that can be made, including providing minimum uniform requirements on model specifications and scenario planning based on best practices; instituting administrative guardrails to protect transmission customers from excessive costs if the Commission moves forward with its proposed Right of First Refusal; and mandating a uniform set of core benefits that all planners must consider.
We also submitted reply comments in the proceeding to underscore two points. In response to commenters that argued the Commission should reconsider its proposal in light of the level of uncertainty surrounding the future, we argue that it is future uncertainty that necessitates the long-term scenario planning contemplated by the rule. Such proactive transmission planning will allow planners to prepare for and react to changing circumstances and ensure a reliable and resilient grid in the face of uncertainty. Additionally, our reply comments reaffirm previous recommendations that the Commission should require planners to use a standardized cost-benefit analysis that properly accounts for societal benefits of new transmission. Preferably, this analysis will use a net-benefits test in assessing and comparing projects.