Manchin permitting bill aims to streamline US transmission approval process

The legislation would give the federal government increased permitting authority for transmission lines. Image: C-Crete Technologies.

Parts of a new US energy permitting bill that aim to accelerate the construction of transmission infrastructure have been welcomed by trade association the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

Released yesterday by Senator Joe Manchin, the legislation would give the federal government increased permitting authority for transmission lines found to be in the national interest.

According to ACORE CEO Gregory Wetstone, the bill includes provisions that would help streamline the transmission approval process, improving the US’s ability to meet its decarbonisation goals by better connecting renewable projects to population centres.

“We know we need to expand and upgrade the nation’s electrical grid to fully realise the renewable energy growth expected under the Inflation Reduction Act,” Wetstone said. “Yet, it remains very difficult to get new transmission lines sited, permitted and built in this country, with successful efforts rare and typically taking more than a decade.”

There was a record 676GW of solar capacity in US transmission interconnection queues at the end of 2021, according to research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), with wait times continuing to increase.

In the regions with available data, LBNL found the typical duration from connection request to commercial operation for generation plants increased from around 2.1 years for projects built in 2000-2010 to roughly 3.7 years for those constructed in 2011-2021.

On the need for permitting reform, Joe Manchin said yesterday: “No matter what you want to build, whether it’s transmission pipelines or hydropower dams, more often than not, it takes too long and drives up costs.”

The bill, dubbed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, would require President Joe Biden to designate 25 energy projects of national importance for federal review. It would also require federal agencies to issue all permits necessary for the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline.

Joe Manchin struck a deal to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in late July having previously refused to support climate measures included in Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

As part of the IRA, Manchin secured a commitment from Biden to pass the permitting reform package before the end of the fiscal year on 30 September 2022, according to a press release from the Senate energy committee, which Manchin chairs.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
September 23, 2022
Plans for a temporary revenue cap on solar PV assets across the European Union (EU) could dent investor confidence in renewables, experts have warned, amid concerns that individual member states may be able to set lower caps specific to different technologies.
September 21, 2022
Cost certainty, reducing wait times and more flexible agreements with utilities are crucial to solving the US’ interconnections problems that are holding the country back from reaching its renewables targets
September 19, 2022
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released more details about, and sought more engagement with, its Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) programme at RE+ in Anaheim, California.
September 15, 2022
The European Parliament has backed plans to increase the European Union’s (EU) renewable targets as it grapples with the fallout of the war in Ukraine and the rampant energy crisis.
September 14, 2022
Solar PV plants across the European Union could be subject to a temporary revenue cap under new proposals aimed at helping energy consumers reduce their bills. 
September 14, 2022
US solar industry players gathered on the White House lawn yesterday to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), one month after it was signed into law.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 27, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
On-Demand Webinars, Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event
Upcoming Webinars
October 18, 2022
10am (EDT) / 4pm (CEST)