Eighteen governors, members of the Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, issued an open letter on November 9 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to encourage the development of needed electric transmission that they claim existing federal efforts are insufficient to address.

The governors highlighted an Interconnection Seams Study conducted by a coalition of national laboratories, grid operators, and electric utilities that was presented at a symposium in Ames, Iowa on July 26, 2018. The study advocated increasing connections between the US Eastern and Western Interconnections to enhance reliability, resiliency, efficiency, and competition, as well as to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to cyberattacks.

In the letter, the governors urge FERC, in coordination with the US Department of Energy, to convene a series of meetings with the states, regional transmission organizations, members of Congress, and the private sector to consider the Interconnection Seams Study and identify the nation’s transmission needs. The governors state that FERC’s Order 1000 has been unsuccessful in cultivating needed national and inter-regional transmission planning, and therefore new action is needed. The governors also cite China’s $315 billion commitment through 2020 for ultra-high-voltage power lines by way of comparison to US commitments.