The Council of State Governments - WEST

 

July 11, 2013

66th 
Annual Meeting
Registration 
Now Open
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July 30 - August 2, 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada

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CSG-WEST
1107 Ninth St. 
Suite 730
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.553.4423
Fax: 916.446-5760
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Could an Electrical Transmission Siting Compact 

Be a Reality?


By: Rich Lindsey
 

Of all the policy discussions that occur in the West over energy issues, one issue rises to the top when it comes to agreement among states: the need for a more efficient way to site electrical transmission lines across state lines, particularly when it involves bringing renewables to the market.   In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in which Congress granted consent for three or more contiguous states to explore and develop regional transmission line siting compacts.

 

A request from legislative members of the Council of State Governments to the Council's National Center for Interstate Compacts to explore the feasibility of a transmission line compact led to the creation of an advisory board to study the idea.  The advisory board consisted of federal stakeholders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the US Department of Energy, state officials, stakeholder groups, and subject matter experts.

 

Following the advisory board's determination that the compact idea deserved merit, a drafting team was formed and met multiple times over the past year to finalize compact language.  The now completed draft provides a framework for a national transmission line siting compact designed to improve efficiencies by standardizing timelines across member states.

 

The agreement would be triggered on a regional basis and pertain only to those states that are both members of the compact and affected by the proposed line. Specifically, the compact addresses an application filing process, an application review process, a proposed line review and timeline, and an approval process.

 

The CSG-WEST Energy and Public Lands Committee is dedicating its entire three hour meeting at this year's Council of State Governments - WEST annual meeting in Las Vegas, NV to the compact draft language.  The draft has also been presented to the Western Governors Association's Transmission Siting Task Force and is being circulated more broadly for review and comment.

 

A transmission siting compact could play a significant role in expediting electrical transmission siting across western states.  For more information on the draft language contact Crady DeGolian, Director of CSG's National Center for Interstate Compacts at cdegolian@csg.org or at 859-244-8068.

The Fiscal Survey of the States
The National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) recently released their biannual report The Fiscal Survey of the States. The report provides an update on what is happening in the states regarding revenues and spending. While 2013 tax revenues and spending are above 2012 revenues, they still lag behind 2008 levels. According to NGA aggregate general fund spending in fiscal year 2013 is estimated to increase by 4 percent over general fund spending in fiscal year 2012. Fiscal year 2014 recommended general fund expenditures total $728 billion, a 4.1 percent increase over fiscal year 2013.  To read more about the status of state budgets click here.
WGA Releases 10 Year Energy Vision:
Supports Interstate Compacts

By Crady DeGolian, National Center for Interstate Compacts

 

In a recently released report by the Western Governors Association (WGA) entitled Ten Year Energy Vision: Goals and Objectives, interstate compacts were mentioned as a way to promote a more robust energy infrastructure.  WGA went on to mention compacts as a viable way to promote interstate cooperation and more effectively lead to the siting of interstate projects. 

 

CSG, through its National Center for Interstate Compacts, has worked to develop an Electric Transmission Line Siting Compact designed to more easily move power from where it is generated to where it is needed.  The compact, which is now ready for legislative consideration, is intended to improve efficiencies during the siting process. To see the key points of the report click here.

The mission of CSG-WEST is to facilitate regional, nonpartisan cooperation and exchange of information, and to strengthen legislative institutions among our 13 member states. These services are achieved through a variety of programs and services offered to legislators and their staff, including the convening of policy forums, professional development training, international relations opportunities, publications and institutional links with other political entities in the West.
 

CSG-WEST serves the Western legislatures of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Associate members include the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the Pacific islands of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.