Radio Actuality

Salazar Details Administration’s Policy Push to Build  21st Century Power Transmission Grid


Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told energy industry officials today that the federal government’s past electric transmission policy has been as fragmented and disjointed as the nation’s outdated power grid and that one of President Obama’s top energy priorities is to speed the development of a 21st Century network to move American energy more cleanly, efficiently and safely around the nation.

Topic / Summary / Transcript
Topic: The Bureau of Land Management has identified 5,000 miles of energy transport corridors and is working with stakeholders to locate transmission facilities.
“The Bureau of Land Management has identified over 5,000 miles of energy transport corridors on public lands in the West alone.  These corridors are a work in progress.  We’re continuing to work with stake-holders to identify the best places on the landscape for transmission facilities; especially as renewable energy generation comes online.  In particular, we are working with the Western Governors Association and their renewable energy zone project. This is a regional transmission planning and coordination effort that is helping align federal, state and local interests to build transmission.”

Topic: Secretary Salazar says Tribal lands hold great potential for energy and transmission and that we will work with them "nation to nation" to identify projects that will benefit tribal communities.
“Tribal lands have some of the highest renewable and conventional resource potential in the country.  Yet many tribes have been left out of the nation’s energy infrastructure.  We are working with the tribes on a ‘Nation to Nation’ relationship to identify opportunities to site transmission projects where they could most benefit tribal communities and meet the nation’s energy needs.”

Topic: The Bureau of Land Management is fast-tracking some energy transmission permits that may clear the process in time to receive funding from the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
“The Bureau of Land Management today is currently processing 30 applications for major transmission rights-of-way on public lands which we oversee.  Seven of these projects are fast-track projects in Idaho, California and Nevada.  We anticipate these projects will clear the permitting process before the end of next year.  That will give them time to qualify for incentives that are included in the economic recovery act and will be therefore able to put people to work in the timeframe of the recovery act.”

Topic: Secretary Salazar says that electric transmission policy has been ignored for too long, but it is now being discussed in a cabinet level working group.
“For too long our nation’s electric transmission policy has been disjointed, fragmented and frankly a low priority across the federal agencies.  For this reason, we have assembled a cabinet level working group focused on developing a coordinated approach for moving energy around the country.  In the regular meetings we now hold at the cabinet level with the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Energy and Climate Change, the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and others, we are assembling a unified forward-looking strategy for siting, cost allocation and coordinating the permitting for proposed projects for transmission.”