This legislation would establish regional transmission planners that would take over CPCN permitting and siting for interstate transmission projects.
‘‘(d) CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY.--
‘‘(1) PROPOSED FINDING OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY BY REGIONAL TRANSMISSION PLANNER.--
‘‘(A) INCLUSION OF PROPOSED FINDING IN REGIONAL TRANSMISSION PLAN.—As part of a regional transmission plan submitted to the Commission under subsection (c)(3), a regional transmission planner may identify a regional transmission project or projects that such regional transmission planner finds, based on the record of the regional transmission planning process, is required by, and consistent with, the public convenience and necessity.
‘‘(B) PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY CERTIFICATE REQUEST.—A regional transmission planner may submit to the Commission a request to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a regional transmission project identified in a regional transmission plan submitted under subsection (c)(3). Such request shall include a summary of the record developed for such project during the regional transmission planning process. The request shall be based on whether such regional transmission project is or will be--
‘‘(i) necessary to ensure regional compliance with reliability standards or remedy violations of such reliability standards;
‘‘(ii) necessary to provide significant relief from electric transmission congestion as measured by objective criteria, including consideration of the total cost of congestion, hours of congestion, and the lack of feasible economic alternative means to relieve congestion;
‘‘(iii) important to the diversification of energy supply throughout the designated region, including by meeting the goals of applicable renewable portfolio standards; or
‘‘(iv) important to the development of smart grid technology that is consistent with the policy under title XIII of the En-
ergy Independence and Security Act of
2007 (42 U.S.C. 17381 et seq.).
‘‘(2) ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE AND NECESSITY.—The Commission may, after notice and opportunity for hearing, find that a regional transmission project is in the public convenience and necessity and issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the ownership and operation of such regional transmission project and the provision of any related services under the jurisdiction of the Commission if the Commission
‘‘(A) a regional transmission planner included a proposed finding of public convenience and necessity for such proposed regional trans- mission project in one or more relevant regional transmission plans submitted to the Commission under subsection (c)(3);
‘‘(B) a regional transmission planner submitted a request for the issuance of such a certificate;
‘‘(C) the proposed regional transmission project will be used for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce;
‘‘(D) the proposed regional transmission
project is consistent with the public interest in terms of its engineering, reliability, and other economic characteristics and the purposes of this section; and
‘‘(E) the proposed regional transmission project will maximize, to the extent reasonable and economical, existing rights-of-way and the transmission capabilities of existing towers and structures.
‘‘(3) CONSIDERATIONS.—In issuing a certificate of public convenience and necessity under this subsection, the Commission shall give substantial deference to any proposed finding of public convenience and necessity by a regional transmission planner in a regional transmission plan submitted under subsection (c)(3).
‘‘(6) ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW.— ‘‘(A) PROPOSED FINDING BY REGIONAL
TRANSMISSION PLANNER.—A proposed finding by a regional transmission planner of public convenience and necessity regarding a regional transmission project is excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), provided an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is required to be prepared by the Commission under such Act.
Just like when the little pig cried wolf (oh, am I mixing my fables again?) we probably shouldn't pay any attention to this. Govtrack gives this bill a 2% chance of getting out of committee, but stranger things have happened. Keep an eye on this piece of pork.