FERC Chairman Willie Phillips’ top priority in 2024 is improving the difficult process of planning, siting and paying for interstate electric transmission lines, recently noting the Commission is in the “final lap” of its work on these crucial issues.

Nowhere is the need for action on these issues more evident than in the continued growth in the number of active interconnection requests, according to the FERC 2023 State of the Markets Report, issued last week.

Citing preliminary data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the FERC report states that at the end of 2023, there were 11,841 active requests from generators seeking to interconnect to the transmission system. This is a 16 percent increase compared to the end of 2022, and a quadrupling of the number since 2019.

The active capacity in interconnection queues at the end of 2023 includes 1,565 gigawatts of generation, 299 gigawatts of storage capacity from hybrid storage and generation interconnection requests, and 503 gigawatts of standalone storage capacity. Some 95 percent of the total capacity in interconnection queues as of the end of 2023 comes from solar, wind and battery storage resources, which suggests these types of resources may make up most future capacity additions. The generation capacity active in interconnection queues exceeds the 1,268 gigawatts of all U.S. installed electricity generation capacity at the end of 2023 by more than 20 percent.

The U.S. saw more than 500 new transmission projects entering service in 2023, according to data from C3 Group LLC. These projects produced more than 4,000 miles of new transmission lines and upgrades, mostly at the 138-kilovolt level. As with earlier years, reliability needs were the drivers of most new line-related transmission projects that entered service. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas led all regions with more than 200 new transmission projects, with the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator and the PJM Interconnection following closely behind. 

Transmission providers also identified new transmission needs in 2023. The report notes that load growth, the changing resource mix including resource retirements and projected extreme weather conditions – all drove transmission providers’ needs for new transmission. 

Since finalizing a new rule last summer to streamline the interconnection process to provide greater timing and cost certainty to interconnection customers and prevent discrimination against new sources of power generation, the Commission has worked diligently to address the key issues of regional transmission planning and cost allocation. Chairman Phillips has said he expects the Commission to act this spring.

“We need to take a longer-term, forward-looking approach to planning for essential transmission facilities and to allocate the costs of those facilities in a just and reasonable manner while enhancing the reliability and resilience of the grid,” Phillips said.

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This page was last updated on March 28, 2024