tv [untitled] CSPAN June 16, 2009 6:00am-6:30am EDT
in hopes to achieve this goal in this energy bill. i want to note several things. number one, our good system is doing good work today. i'm not sure you can say the grid is broken. you can have a horse and buggy system that's working. we know it will not be fit for the challenges of tomorrow. if we are going to meet appropriately and necessarily. we need to allow transmission to move forward. second the reason that we're hear today and the reason we need to act today is that this is the only vehicle moving out of town. it will be the last chance and only chance to really move forward on the this effort. we can't move forward without a
transmission piece. i think lincoln's old quote fits. as our case is new so should we think anew. the reason it's necessary is two-fold. our grid has always been designed for regional and local interests. now we now have national need for a national grid. we know while our constituents love electricity, none of them love electrical lines. there's a time and place where uncle sam needs to step in to overcome the reluctance of all of us to deal with the aspects of electricity. it's necessary. we know we cannot wait decades.
i'm excited about hearing the testimony. i happy we can get the job done in this bill. thank you. chair recognizes the ranking member, the gentleman from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. since we have an oversight hearing on upstairs it helps me to give my statement. i'm going to give a double statement. we'll talk about the hearing. then i want to comment on your personal comments. first on the hearing before us. it's scare iry when i agree with jay insley. but i do agree. his bill was directed towards
clean energy or green energy. once you direct the energy, by wind solar or coal power, electricity is going to go on the same wires. the wires don't know what the source of the generation was. so with do need to update the transmission grid. we started the process in the energy policy act of 2005. i thought we had bipartisan support. it became law. the fourth circuit ruled recently that parts of this are not as they should be. i disagree with the court ruling. i hope the supreme court will overturn it. in any event. i agree with congressman insly that we need to modernize our grid. we do need to give more authority, in my opinion.
to make decisions when the states can't do it themselves. we tried to do that. perhaps we can try it a different way. i don't know that we need to go that far for electricity. there's a middle ground where the states can work together. in any event, mr. chairman, this is a good hearing. hopefully out of this will come consensus on both sides of taise about what to do legislatively. now when you were talking about the letters of june #th and the comments of the ceo of mid
american. first of all i'm very appreciative of what you've said. it was not intended to intimidate. and that you called him to correct the misunderstanding. i appreciate you doing that. let me elaborate why people like myself have expressed concerns. you can't make the best public policy if you don't have witnesses come before this committee and give their full honest assessment of whatever the issue is. if the only witnesses that are going to be received are witnesses that testify to the side of the the question that the majority is supporting. you don't have a full and fair debate on the issue.
and in the instance that you alluded to, david represented a point of view that was contrary to the majority's position on the climate change legislation. and the allocation system that's a part of that. the allowance system. that side needs to be presented to the american people. within two hours of him giving that testimony, a letter was sent with your signature asking six generic questions, and two specific questions about david socol and his company. the chairman was asked to respond in writing to you by close of business yesterdayed.
how can that note be perceived as an attempt to intimidate? testify in the morning, receive a letter sent in the afternoon to the chairman of the regulatory committee. asking probing questions about the conduct and business decisions of your company. now, i take you at your word when you say that was not intend ed and beginning to take step steps to correct it. what upsets myself and others on the minority we do not accept that we can develop a mechanism where we allow any member to threaten, to intimidate, to abuse the power of the office that we're given to the people of the power of the congressional districts on behalf of the people of the united states of america. you're already taking steps to
correct the perception that perhaps intimidate was being attempted. i commend you for that. you're going to get a letter from myself and mr. upton and other members from the minority later today asking that we consider those discussions to make sure that we make it absolutely clear that any citizen of this country can testify to whatever they believe is the truth as they know it without fear or retribution. buttious again, you and i have been friends for 25 years. i hope we're going to be friends for another 25 if we both live that long. i have nothing but the utmost personal and professional
respect for you and your conduct. and i'm honored to sit on the same committee as you. i've sat as chairman of the sub committee. i think we can get this worked out. but it's a serious issue. it deserves serious consideration. to your credit, you're giving it that serious consideration. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the gentleman very much. thank the gentleman for his words. chair now turns and recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. mc mr. chairman. i want to thank you for holding this hearing. this is a complex and difficult issue. >> i want to thank the panel for appearing this morning. in particular, the chairman of the ferc. i had the opportunity to visit the ferc this week and it was a good use of my time. this issue is complex and difficult, as i just said. it's got economic challenges,
technical challenges and political challenges, and i believe the outcome would be best if we do our homework, consider the challenges and devise a rational and bipartisan plan. thank you for appearing and i look forward to your testimony. i hope you can stay most of the time this morning and with that i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired and they recognize mr. whitfield. we look forward to this hearing and welcome to witnesses and we look forward to the testimony. >> if the advocates for a renewable energy mandate are successful, there will be large portions of the midwest that did not have solar or wind power sufficient to meet their needs, it will be extremely difficult for them to meet this 20% renewable mandate without some federal involvement regarding
deciding refinancing the building of additional transmission lines. particularly when you consider the department of energy's 20% energy by 2030 saying they'll have to build at least 12,000 new transmission, 12,000 miles of new transmission line to meet that need and then on top of that when you consider this recent fourth circuit court of appeals decision that ranking member barton mentioned which does make it more difficult for ferc to operate in this area. i do think we have some significant issues, and i hope this hearing can help us decide those. i yield back the balance of time. >> the time has expired and the chair recognizes the gentle lady from wisconsin, miss baldwin, for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. transmission is critical to our
nation's electrical system, and i certainly support grid expansion. i have significant concerns, however, about many of the recent federal proposals that jeopardize state and regional efforts to develop the transmission grid. specifically, these efforts ignore progress and may actually slow investments being made in states like wisconsin and others in the midwest. over the last seven years my home state of wisconsin -- the wisconsin rate payers have supported more than $2 billion in investments in our transmission system. these actions have and will continue to improve reliability and increase the flow of renewable energy in wisconsin and our neighboring states. congress must ensure that weir not undermining the existing processes if we are going venture into the transmission arena especially when sensitivities exist to state authority, cost allocation,
safety and eminent domain issues. as we examine these issues there are questions and challenges that we must keep in mind. who's going to pay for this? will those not receiving the benefits of transmission have to spend for the cost of lines traversing the country. i'm hearing strong concerns about designing our transmission system for one specific purpose. it's not the job of transmission planners or transmission companies to choose the types of generation that may interconnect with the transmission system. transmission is needed, plain and simple, regardless of the type of generation. where i come from, transmission is a sensitive subject. it would be very difficult to convince wisconsinits and other americans that in the name of national interest, the federal government is taking their proper toe essentially stretch an extension cord across it to power a larger urban area many, many miles away. so what will this process be like for a public input if it is a federally-directed process? the citing of underground
meet increasing demands without adding significant high-voltage equipment, end quote. clearly, there is a significant need for an increase in transmission capacity. this need is amplified as we consider adding more and more renewable energy to the grid. while i'm fully supportive of adding more capacity, i believe we do need to keep in mind the legitimate desires of localities to preserve green spaces and historic sites. my district includes some of the most pristine, historic landscapes in the mid atlantic. my district also has some of the most productive farmland in the united states. chester koirnths the home of valley forge in the brandywine county where i come from is one of william penn's original three counties. the tradition of preserving land and being good stewards of the earth have been passed down from generation to generation. we're not against progress, but we want to protect our heritage and be wise about how we use and
develop the land we have. having the needed energy to turn on lights and heat water is critically important to the quality of life of every american. however, the preservation of natural environment of people's communities contributes to our quality of life as well. we need to ensure that all stakeholders are included in deciding where and when transmission lines are cited. compromise and dialogue are key in this issue, indeed it is critical to strike a balance between the crucial needs of the country while at the same time maintaining historic open space areas that make our country beautiful and unique. as the country considers this issue i hope that we hear from an affected parties and work towards viable solutions. mr. chairman, i'm grateful for the opportunity to discuss this issue and it is my hope that today's hearing is only one in a series of hearings on this issue to ensure a robust and well-rounded approach to a transmission policy, and i look
forward to hearing from our witnesses. i yield back. i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentleman from vermont, mr. welsh. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i actually want to just get my microphone to work here. i am proud that we have here today as one of our witnesses, david cohen. david is a member of the public service board in vermont serving on his third term, and he's been appointed by republican and democratic governors alike. he's done a tremendous job. he's vice president of the national association of regulatory utility commissioners. david is acutely sensitive to the particular needs of rural utilities where a small state, but this issue of transmission is incredibly important to us as it is all around. so i want to welcome him and
thank you, mr. chairman, for inviting david to be here and add to the testimony. thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scolese. >> thank you, mr. chairman. renewable energies will play an important role in the energy policy and the support the development of renewable sources of energy. as a matter of fact, republicans have drafted legislation, the american energy act which will be in energy. as we expand energy sources like wind, solar and hydro and as the congress and this administration discussed the grid and its capacity, we must not neglect that many of these sources of energy are intermittent and need to be backed up by other sources of energy and we would be remiss if we do not emphasize the importance of diversifying our energy portfolio and ensuring that nuclear power is any part of the policy we discussed.
wind and solar power still need to overcome fundamental obstacles and we cannot exclusively rely on the energy sources to power the nation. when the winds stop blowing and the sun stops shining, the hospitals that care for our families and schools that teach our children must continue to have reliable sources of energy to ensure that the lights stay on. transmission infrastructure, planning and citing policies are all important to this conversation as is the regulatory framework that will surround these policies. i believe it is also important for the congress to carefully weigh regional considerations as we further discuss this issue. i look forward to today's hearing and i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the chairman from north carolina, mr. butterfield. >> i'm going to move one seat down so i'll have the benefit of this microphone. thank you very much, mr. chairman, for convening this hearing. i want to thank the five witnesses who have come forward to make their testimonies
available. it goes without saying that i support the expansion of the grid using 21st century technology. we certainly must do that. waxman takes dramatic step for the electric generation. the nationwide res standard and demands use of the sources and the price signal from the carbon cap will further the use of clean fuels. as we move forward we, must ensure, that it gets to the load centers that demand them and this means we must address the deficiencies in our transmission grid that will delay us from reaching our full renewable potential or grid efficiency. there are a number of challenges to improofing transmission, but citing will be particularly difficult to overcome. balancing the federal, state and regional and stake holder needs and interests will be difficult, but cryptical to the completion of a modernized grid. comprehensive planning, cost
allocation and ownership will also present challenges as we've heard today. the collaborative nature of the subcommittee and look forward to discussing the issue further. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from california, miss harmon. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we're debating on the floor a bill to have the fda regulate tobacco and i have to say it's a long time in coming and i'm absolutely thrilled that we will finally, i believe, pass it and it will become law very soon. so while i'm celebrating about that, i'm thinking about another hard issue, this one which will require all of us to step up and think about risky strategies to make certain the promise of renewable energy and the absolute need for transmission of electricity throughout the
count r country can be accomplished. i think anything we do in this committee will make us a few friends and make us a few enemies and that applies to us, regardless of which party we're in and which region we're from, but i think we have to step up as many people finally have stepped up in both parties to the need to regulate tobacco. i just want to point out some of the obstacles. the u.s. electorate encompasses 167,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and another 300,000 miles of lower voltage lines. the grid is operated by approximately 130 balancing authority which is are typically utilities that own transmission systems and operate control centers to monitor control of the grid. those transmission systems are owned by several hundred prief and the public entities so let's start with that. it's incredibly complex and if we don't get a handle on that
and don't step up to the tough decisions we won't solve the problem, but i would close by saying if we really want renewable energy in this country, we really have to fix the grid. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentle lady's time has expired. the chair recognizes mr. greene. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a full statement for the record. in the '05 ak, we provided for the transmission corridors that are so needed and like my colleagues have said, we disagree with the court decision any hopefully it won't be overturned by the supreme court, but there are things we can do, i appreciation the legislation and to expand and have a national grid. we know, and it can't be just limited renewables because those electricity protons don't decide where they come from, they just
go down those lines. so that's why i'm happy to be part of the hearing, and i'd like my full statement to be placed in the record and support to expand the national grid. i have a huge transmission corridor right behind my neighborhood and in texas we don't have a problem with pipelines and transmission grids because we just approved $5 billion for the renewable electricity to come from west texas and our urban market. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back my time. >> the chair recognizes mr. palon. >> i want to first thank you for all that you've done on this issue. i mean -- i know it's been so many years and we finally passed a bill on the committee, and i know we'll pass it on to the president eventually. i wanted to point out that ralph iso, chairman and ceo of the new jersey-based energy company will be testifying on today's second
panel and under ralph's leadership, pfc has been a leader throughout the state of new jersey. today the committee will address policy proposals for transmission planning, cost allocation and citing authority. a strong transmission grid is essential to ensure energy liability and to remove clean, renewable energy from remote locations. i think we can all agree that planning and investing in the reliable grid is a national priority. that said, we need to be careful how we craft any new traps mission policy. two main areas of concern to the northeast and specifically for new jersey or how to cite new transmission lines and how to pay for those new lines. it's critical that states like new jersey have authority over the citing of new transmission lines giving far greater authority to cite high-voltage transmission lines will generate widespread local opposition. it must give states adequate authority over siding to ensure they can protect the environment
and cultural and historical sites. another thing that would affect my state is -- how do we craft legislation to move renewable energy such as wind to population centers? i think we should think regionally. new jersey has tremendous potential to meet the renewable energy goals through solar and off-shore wind. it does not make sense for new jersey rate payers to subsidize from moving wind from the east to the west coast a cost at $10 million per mile. this could slow development of alternatives closer to home. i believe the transmission provisions that were passed in the security act provide a balanced approach that respects regional differences and local concerns. before we pass legislation, we must consider how it will affect the economies of local, renewable energy projects and again, thank you again, mr. chairman. >> thank the gentleman very much. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr.
barrow. the gentleman waives his opening statement. all time for opening statements has been completed and we now turn to our very distinguished panel and our first witness, the chairman of the federal energy regulatory commission which overseas wholesale, electric transactions and transportation in the united states. he is also co-chair of the demand response collaborative launched jointly by ferc and the national association of regulatory utility commissioners. we thank you so much for being here and your first appearance before our committee. we welcome you sir. whenever you're ready, please begin. >> good morning. >> could you just push the microphone a little bit closer and turn it on. >> good morning. thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member upton, members of the subcommittee.
first, i have two preliminary issues and first i'd like to recognize and thank my colleague commissioner muller here today and i would request that my full testimony be placed in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> the fall into summary of the testimony. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today, discuss our nation's electric transmission grid. mr. chairman, your invitation for this hearing envisions, quote, a transmission system that will serve the goals of substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing we newable resources and improving energy efficiency while preserving and enhancing reliability. a transmission system that meets the goals you have articulated will assist in promoting field diversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening our national security and revitalizing our economy and enhancing competition and ensuring reliability. such a reliable and