ROSSLYN, Va. - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) should move soon to designate certain electrical transmission corridors as bottlenecks so they can be considered for federal siting permits by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said officials of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), shortly after release of a study by DOE.

According to NEMA, bottlenecks on the electric transmission system decrease electric reliability and cost consumers billions of dollars per year. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 required the DOE to study congestion and identify bottlenecks, presently called National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors. The DOE has released the National Electric Transmission Congestion Study, which categorizes congested areas, but it does not designate bottleneck corridors.

Transmission line projects must be in National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors to be considered for possible federal siting under Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority. The designation of national corridors will reduce uncertainty by allowing the federal government to license facilities in the national interest in cases where states have not acted in a reasonable time. In one case, regulatory delays led to a 15-year schedule in getting an important transmission line built.

"DOE needs to quickly designate corridors to help ensure reliable and affordable electricity," stated NEMA President Evan Gaddis.

Publication date: 09/04/2006