Order No. 1000 requires interregional transmission planning and broad cost allocation, introduces competition to build transmission, and mandates "consideration" of state renewable energy goals to allow regional planning authorities to interpret and decide how such goals may be accomplished with long distance transmission, instead of in-state resources. And they wonder why there's been a run on repeal of state RPS laws this year?
A few oral argument summaries have popped up online that seem to agree that the Court pretty much gave the authority and ROFR arguments the hand. Reporters also agreed that opponents' cost allocation arguments fared better.
Read the RTO Insider summary.
Read an E&E summary.
Cost arguments drone on about eliminating "free ridership" whereby some electric consumers may receive benefit from an interregional transmission project but not have to pay for it.
That same argument could be used for the "free ridership" of some electric consumers who receive benefit from new transmission lines but don't have to sacrifice their land, homes, businesses, and health for the "good" of others. There are a multitude of unrecognized "costs" of transmission that aren't monetary and cannot be sufficiently compensated by one-time right of way payments. But I don't think anyone bothered to stick up for sacrificial landowners at the D.C. Circuit.
Unless the Court reins in FERC's heavy-handed transmission exuberance, the arguments will continue. This will tie the matter up in the courts forever and result in nothing of substance getting built.
Utilities and groups also contend that FERC is infringing on states’ rights because several states already regulate transmission planning. FERC countered that the order would not interfere with state authority, and if the state vetoed a project, it wouldn’t be built.
When are the needs of consumers going to be considered? Consumers aren't buying the specious arguments that billions of dollars of new transmission provide benefit to them. In fact, more and more consumers are taking steps to check out of the grid and invest in their own onsite generators. Only then will these ridiculous and expensive arguments end. Meanwhile, fight on fellas.
You can listen to a recording of the 3-hour oral argument here, if someone's paying you gobs of money to stay awake and pretend you care (or if they're not, you can do it anyhow if you have a 3-hour supply of tasty alcohol on hand, and a twisted sense of humor).