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Public Interest Principles for Electric System Planning

Transmission planning is based on proposals for, or assumptions about, new generation to be connected to the grid. The growth of distributed generation, energy efficiency and demand response programs has created robust alternatives to new generation and associated transmission. Planning transmission is thus necessarily an exercise in integrated resource planning for the regional electric system.

Planning today further requires many new factors to be integrated into electric system-transmission development. Economic development and energy security concerns; public health and environmental impacts; consumer and local community concerns can and do affect projects approvals—or litigation to stop or slow approvals.

Increasingly, infrastructure projects today must earn public consent to be approved. This makes it essential to include factors of most concern to the public in project planning. Many states, however, explicitly prohibit transmission planning from considering anything other than reliability and relief of transmission congestion.

To begin discussion of the whether and how to broaden transmission planning beyond technical reliability issues, Western Grid Group has developed a proposal for integrating public interest concerns into planning. Click here to view or download the latest draft. We seek comment on this proposal and suggestions for how to stimulate discussion of the idea.