MIL-OSI USA: Welch, King Introduce Bill to Boost Investment in Grid-Enhancing Technologies, Increase U.S. Power Grid Capacity

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced the Advancing Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs) Act, legislation to boost investments in grid-enhancing technologies (GETs), a type of transmission technology that expands capacity of existing transmission infrastructure. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.-14), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.-20), and Scott Peters (D-Calif.-50). 

The bill comes a week after Sens. Welch and King and Reps. Castor and Tonko sent a letter to U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) leadership urging the Commission to implement shared savings incentive that promote the deployment of grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) to expand transmission capacity and meet rapid growth in electricity demand.  

“We’re at a crucial turning point in our work to achieve a clean energy transition, and meeting this moment requires new investments in clean energy technologies that strengthen the capacity of our transmission system,” said Senator Welch. “The Advancing GETs Act will motivate grid operators and developers to bring new projects online that expand transmission capacity by guaranteeing returns for these targeted, cost-saving investments. This legislation will be crucial to boosting capacity transmission and helping the United States achieve its clean energy electricity goals.” 

“The energy grid powers our homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure — and it must evolve to continue serving America for the 21st century,” said Senator King. “As we work to create a sustainable clean energy future, improved and increased transmission is urgently needed to meet that goal. The Advancing GETs Act will create an incentives program to help spur new, smart solutions to expand existing transmission infrastructure. This bill is another step forward in meeting the need for reliable, affordable, and clean electricity.” 

“New clean energy projects — including solar, wind, geothermal, and other sources — are popping up all across the country thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act,” said Rep. Castor. “In order to bring these projects online quickly, we must upgrade our old, congested transmission infrastructure. The Advancing Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs) Act will help us do that by supercharging the deployment of grid-enhancing technologies that enable transmission operators to maximize the capacity of existing power lines.” 

“Improving our existing grid infrastructure is critical to addressing climate change and achieving our clean energy future,” said Rep. Tonko. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Advancing GETs Act to fix the incentive structure in order for these technologies to be utilized to the fullest.” 

“The climate crisis requires us to move faster than ever to meet our goals and avoid catastrophe,” said Rep. Peters. “Encouraging the utilization of grid-enhancing technologies is a common-sense step that will help us more quickly interconnect clean energy while directing tangible benefits to consumers and developers. Along with building more generation, transmission, and storage, the Advancing GETs Act will help us lower prices for consumers, improve reliability, and reach our climate goals.” 

The Advancing GETs Act is endorsed by American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA), Electricity Consumers Resource Council, Rewiring America, RMI, Sierra Club, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the WATT Coalition.  

“The Advancing GETS Act would help increase the capacity of the existing transmission grid, making it cheaper, easier, and faster for power producers to deliver clean energy to customers,” said Kyle L. Davis, the Clean Energy Buyers Association’s senior director of federal affairs. “This bill should garner bipartisan support. Deploying grid enhancing technologies would modernize the grid, making it smarter and more resilient through the use of cutting-edge technologies.” 

“Grid enhancing technologies (GETs) can help us maximize our grid infrastructure and accelerate interconnection as we look for solutions to speed deployment, support clean energy companies, and save ratepayers millions of dollars,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The Advancing GETs Act would incentivize transmission owners to adopt these technologies and add much needed transmission capacity to the grid at a critical time. We commend Senator Welch and Representative Castor for continuing to look for smart solutions that help us modernize the grid and support clean energy companies.” 

“The Advancing GETs Act would drive more efficient use of the transmission system. These policies would unblock innovation that has been stalled for years to enable capacity and flexibility on the existing and future transmission grid. The WATT Coalition applauds the bill sponsors for their leadership on grid innovation towards a lower-cost, more resilient, and cleaner power system,” said Julia Selker, Executive Director of the WATT Coalition

“As the U.S. clean energy industry expands to meet exploding load growth, grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) must be deployed to quickly and affordably to increase transmission capacity. The Advancing GETs Act will address those needs by creating new incentives to encourage necessary investment in these emerging technologies. The American Clean Power Association looks forward to working with Senator Welch, Senator King, Congresswoman Castor, and Congressman Tonko as the bill moves through the legislative process,” said Jason Grumet, CEO of ACP (American Clean Power). 

GETs are a crucial part of achieving a diversified clean energy transition. They increase grid capacity by allowing grid operators the ability to more dynamically manage the flow of electricity. However, current financial incentives are not encouraging developers to implement GETs. The Advancing GETs Act aims to spur developer investment in GETs by creating a shared savings incentive program to split savings for GETs installation between installers and ratepayers while increasing the U.S.’ grid capacity. 

The Advancing GETs Act requires FERC to establish a shared savings incentive for GETs, which would allow a developer to be reimbursed for the cost of a GETs project, plus some of the cost-savings generated by it. The rest of the savings would go to ratepayers. The bill also includes important cost qualification guardrails to protect consumers. 

Additionally, the Advancing GETs Act includes an annual reporting requirement that directs transmission owners to report costs associated with congestion to FERC and directs FERC to analyze and make this data available to the public. Lastly, it charges the Department of Energy (DOE) with creating an application guide for implementing GETs projects. providing technical assistance to stakeholders interested in GETs, and managing a clearinghouse with examples of implemented GETs projects. 

Learn more about the bill. 

Read the full text of the bill. 

MIL OSI USA News