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Details on Dems' big transmission bill

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Dec 13, 2023
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Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Here are a few interesting provisions in House Democrats' newly unveiled transmission and permitting legislation.

Why it matters: It's got extremely long odds in this Congress. But ideas from the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act could be in the mix in a permitting package or another energy bill.

💵 1. Transmission credit: CETA would create a new investment tax credit of up to 30% for building new transmission or modifying existing lines.

  • It's a version of a proposal Sen. Martin Heinrich has been shopping for a while to help pay for big, expensive projects needed to get more low carbon power on the grid.

🥩 2. Beefing up FERC: The bill would try to support hiring more expert staff at FERC via direct appointment by the chair and authority for a new compensation plan.

  • Notably, there's bipartisan support around the Hill to staff up the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — another independent energy regulator — to deal with the next generation of nuclear licensing.

⚡️ 3. Transformer money: The legislation would authorize $2.1 billion through the Defense Production Act to address the electric transformer shortage.

  • President Biden has already invoked the DPA for this purpose, but the provision would be an effort to put real money behind it.

🔦 4. Right my way: Another provision would direct the Federal Highway Administration to issue a report on siting high-voltage power lines along highway rights-of-way.

  • Some experts see this as an easy way to build new transmission, because it means power lines wouldn't need to cut new paths through a patchwork of private and public land.
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