NEW REPORT: How President Biden Can Expedite Permitting & Equitable Grid Deployment Without Congress

Today, Evergreen Action released “Warp Speed Clean Energy: Expediting Permitting and Equitable Grid Deployment Without Congress,” a new report detailing how the Biden administration and state leaders can deliver more efficient and effective permitting, siting, and planning processes for clean energy and transmission—without making a bad deal with Republicans in Congress that would pave the way for more fossil fuel projects.

Rather than debating whether to gut NEPA, federal and state officials can look to the tools they have under existing authority to proactively plan transmission lines and make clean energy permitting processes more efficient and equitable. Prioritizing underserved and overburdened groups in early-stage planning and ensuring that clear benefits flow to host communities will ultimately increase support for projects, speed up approval, and deliver better project outcomes. The report includes recommendations for the Biden administration and FERC to take executive action to address multiple sources of delay in clean energy and transmission buildout. The report also explores how state leaders can pass laws that consolidate and speed up siting and permitting processes for transmission and clean energy while strengthening community engagement and benefits.

Dive in more by reading the full report here 

“We cannot achieve a clean energy transition without the very transmission lines necessary to connect renewable energy sources to the grid,” said Evergreen Action Senior Power Sector Policy Lead Charles Harper. “Waiting to take action until we reach a deal with climate-denying Republicans in Congress is a recipe for failure. Luckily, we don’t need Congress to make meaningful progress to speed transmission and clean energy deployment across the country. There are critical steps the Biden administration and state leaders can take today to ensure we are meeting the moment on climate and leveling up our grid to meet the demands of a thriving clean energy future.”

 AT A GLANCE: This report is laser-focused on how to boost planning, siting, and permitting efficiency for clean energy infrastructure now at the local, state, and federal levels across three major categories—including:

  1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) can move swiftly under existing authority to plan, site, and finance transmission projects—particularly high-voltage regional and interregional lines— as well as pursue deeper interconnection reform, enable federal backstop siting for transmission lines, and offer intervenor compensation to support full community participation. The most important step for FERC is to finalize a strong transmission planning rule in early 2024.
  2. NEPA guarantees communities a voice and requires agencies to consider the environmental impact of proposed projects. For decades, NEPA has been a critical tool for calling out the environmental risks, inequities, and climate impacts of ill-advised fossil fuel projects. It can also be a source of analytic support for the right projects: More can be done in NEPA implementation to enhance transparency, coordination, and efficiency for clean energy project review, uphold Tribal rights to sovereignty and self-determination, and address disproportionate health and environmental impacts on overburdened communities. Better NEPA reviews can create better projects and outcomes.
  3. State leaders should pass laws that comprehensively revise siting and permitting to strengthen community engagement, require community benefits, and hasten approvals for renewable energy and transmission projects. Given the unique context of each state, there is no one-size-fits-all piece of legislation, but policymakers can look to existing laws in California, Washington, New York, Illinois, and Michigan to draw lessons and examples.

You can read the full report here.