23 Apr 2024

200 Solar + Storage Companies Urge Congress to Pass Reforms on Siting, Permitting, Transmission

23 Apr 2024  by renewableenergyworld   
(The Edwards Sunborn solar+storage project in California. Credit: Mortenson Engineering)

Nearly 200 solar and storage companies sent a letter to Congress calling for legislation to reform permitting, project siting, transmission and public lands access for solar and solar + storage projects.

“There are hundreds of billions of investment dollars that depend on our ability to get clean energy projects sited, permitted and efficiently connected to a modern transmission system,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Lawmakers in both parties understand the importance of getting new energy infrastructure built quickly and efficiently. Now is the time for policy action to strengthen America’s energy industry and support local economies with jobs and private investments.”

The 200 companies recommend the following reforms:

Modernize federal energy permitting: Streamline and standardize the permitting process at the federal level

Create project siting partnerships at all levels of government: Encourage federal, state and local authorities to work together to identify and designate appropriate sites for clean energy development, including on underutilized and disturbed lands.

Build out transmission capacity: Invest in transmission planning, build out, and grid modernization efforts to maximize transmission capacity and help unlock the full potential of solar energy, especially in remote regions with abundant solar resources.

Enable administration to reach public lands goals: Simplify the process for clean energy generation and transmission projects to access public land leases while maintaining environmental conservation standards.

Foster interagency collaboration: Empower federal agencies with siting authority — like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Bureau of Land Management, and Department of Energy — to create a central clearinghouse for permit applications to ensure a streamlined approval process for critical transmission infrastructure.

According to forecasts from Wood Mackenzie, the solar industry could reach 673 GW by 2034, but there is a 200 GW difference between the high- and low-case solar deployment forecasts.

“Permitting reform at the federal level and significant transmission system investment are essential to our national energy security,” said Amanda Smith, vice president for external affairs for AES’ U.S. renewables business. “AES has more than 50 gigawatts of clean energy projects in our U.S. development pipeline. Many of these projects are ready to move forward and will generate critical economic investment and create jobs in local communities across the country, but they require swift permitting action and transmission infrastructure upgrades to ensure we can advance a clean, reliable energy future.”

“Our current laws are not set to enable our nation to build generation and transmission at the scale needed to support our economic growth,” said Virinder Singh, vice president of regulatory and legislative affairs for EDF Renewables. “For example, the Western U.S. needs more solar on federal lands to meet its reliability needs. We can do it, and while heeding environmental and community priorities. But we need federal leadership to match the moment.”


More News