Energy Congestion Study To Be Released Today
Published: August 8th, 2006
By: Michael McGuire

NORWICH – The U.S. Department of Energy will be releasing the first study outlining all the regions coast-to-coast that are experiencing adverse electric transmission congestion today, officials said.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the study was provided last night, and listed metropolitan areas in Southern California and the Northeast as the areas with “critical” grid congestion. The Associated Press also listed New England, the Phoenix-Tucson area in Arizona; the Seattle-Portland area in the Pacific Northwest; and the San Francisco Bay area as areas in need of congestion relief.

Poonum Agrawal, an expert with the DOE, confirmed that the study would be officially released at 11 a.m. today, one year to the day after President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act that mandated it. Agrawal said there will be a 60-day comment period following the results of today’s congestion study, after which National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor designations will be made.

The DOE and FERC have both expressed concern over what they say is a fledgling national transmission grid, which they claim has weakened due to a two-fold increase in electricity demand combined with less transmission investment and development.

New York Regional Interconnect Inc., an Albany-based subsidiary awaiting state approval to construct a $1.6 billion transmission line, has already requested and been denied an early corridor designation for the area encompassing its project.

Officials with the company claim the project would alleviate electricity constraints in southeastern and metropolitan New York. If those areas are given corridor status based on today’s report, the federal government could supersede state approval authority if the project review is not completed at the state level within 12 months of being filed.

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