Administration Takes Big Step in Creating Energy Grid of the Future

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Mar 25, 2016

WASHINGTON (March 25, 2016)—President Obama’s administration announced today that after nearly six years of review, it has approved the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is one of the biggest renewable energy projects in the country and will allow construction of about 4,000 megawatts of wind power—enough to power more than 1.5 million American homes with clean energy—at an affordable price. The project will greatly expand the reach of large scale renewables by delivering low-cost clean energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to consumers in Arkansas, Tennessee, and other mid-south and southeast states. It is also the first transmission project to complete the process outlined in Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act, adopted more than a decade ago. 

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Kimmell was previously commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and chairman of the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“Moving away from dirty fossil fuels towards cleaner energy sources is crucial if we are to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, safeguard public health, and fully realize the economic and consumer benefits that come with transitioning to a clean energy economy.

“To make this transformation at scale and as rapidly as is needed, we must be able to move renewable energy generated in wind- and sun-rich areas of the country to population centers that need the electricity. A nation-wide, highly integrated grid is the key to making this a reality.

“This is the first step toward creating an energy grid of the future—one that enables energy obtained from renewables to move freely across state boundaries to distant markets. The administration’s approval of this Clean Line transmission project establishes an important precedent that encourages continued investment in renewables and fosters energy sector innovation.”