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Published on October 5th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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Obama Creating Jobs with Grid Modernization Projects

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October 5th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
 
electric grid

The Obama administration announced a few hours ago that it will “accelerate the permitting and construction of seven proposed electric transmission lines” to help create jobs and support the growth of renewable energy around the U.S.

Of course, even beyond renewables, a more modern grid will help the U.S. by increasing the safety and security of our electricity network.

These 7 pilot projects (in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Wisconsin), are projected to create thousands of jobs and will increase the capacity of our electric grid.

“Building a smarter electric grid will create thousands of American jobs and accelerate the growth of domestic clean energy industries translating into more energy choices and cost savings for American consumers, and a more secure energy future for our country,” Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, said.

“AWEA applauds the Obama administration for taking steps to move from merely talking about transmission to actually getting projects permitted and under construction.  An expanded transmission grid is critical not just for renewable energy, but also for our economic and national security by improving reliability and providing access to lower cost energy for consumers,” said Tom Vinson, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) senior director of federal regulatory affairs.

What exactly are these projects pilots of?

These are pilot projects of “streamlined federal permitting and increased cooperation at the federal, state, and tribal levels” as they relate to grid modernization.

Other than supporting renewable energy and a more secure grid, the White House was sharp to point out that such upgrades will also help the advancement of electric vehicles (EVs).

“Adding necessary transmission infrastructure will integrate renewable electricity sources into the grid, accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles on America’s roads, help avoid blackouts, restore power more quickly when outages occur, and reduce the need for new power plants,” the White House proclaimed.

The core agencies working together on these projects (and signing on to a Memorandum of Understanding regarding these projects) include:

  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Department of the Interior (DOI)
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
  • Department of Commerce (DOC)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACOHP)

You can read statements from some of their representatives on the DOE’s website.

These agencies, working together on the recently formed Rapid Response Team for Transmission (RRTT)

.. will accelerate responsible and informed deployment of these seven key transmission facilities by:

  • Coordinating statutory permitting, review, and consultation schedules and processes among involved federal and state agencies as appropriate through Integrated Federal Planning,
  • Applying a uniform and consistent approach to consultations with Tribal governments, and,
  • Expeditiously resolving interagency conflicts and ensuring that all involved agencies are fully engaged and meeting schedules.

The 7 pilot projects & map are on Page 2 –>

Image Credit: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by shoothead

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Anonymous

    The Western projects complete a loop from the PNW (hydro) to SoCal (solar) to Wyoming (wind) and back to the PNW. Lots of solar, geothermal and wind along the way along with lots of places to build storage.

    Completing the loop makes the grid more durable, a break along the route won’t take the entire system down as could happen now with the Pacific Intertie and Intermountain HVDCs systems.

    It’s going to create a very robust regional renewable energy system.

    And it looks like the SunZia could be a good step to tying into the winds of Texas.

    It’s a good thing….

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