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New FERC Transmission Rule Will Help Improve Long-Term Planning to Responsibly Expand the Grid

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WASHINGTON (May 13, 2024) – Today the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced its Grid Expansion Rule, which will help modernize how the U.S. connects to and transmits power along the nation’s grid. The rulemaking improves long-term regional transmission planning processes to support a clean energy transition in ways that are cost-effective for communities and beneficial for wildlife.  

“The U.S. needs long-term transmission planning to build a more resilient and reliable grid that meets future energy needs in ways that benefit people and wildlife,” said Alice Madden, senior director of climate strategy at the National Audubon Society. “As Audubon’s Birds and Transmission report lays out, planning must consider siting and land-use early in the process with feedback from impacted communities as well as conservation organizations. This will support more strategic regional planning and help us rapidly expand transmission capacity to protect against the most extreme impacts of climate change while also avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating impacts on bird habitats and local communities.”

In 2022, Audubon submitted joint comments as part of the Conservation and Renewable Energy (CARE) coalition in response to FERC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, emphasizing the need for a strong, clear rule that responsibly addresses environmental and energy justice planning and siting criteria. 

Improved regional planning is needed to address regulatory hurdles and help streamline and accelerate the transmission buildout. According to a study from the Department of Energy, the United States must double its existing regional transmission capacity to meet its clean energy goals by 2035. Audubon’s report, Birds and Transmission: Building the Grid Birds Need, notes that increasing transmission capacity is needed to support the clean energy transition and avoid the worst impacts of climate change for birds and people. The report shares best practices grounded in science for how to minimize collision and habitat impact-related risks to birds.  

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About Audubon   The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas towards a future where birds thrive because Audubon is a powerful, diverse, and ever-growing force for conservation. Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the hemisphere and more than 1.5 million active supporters. North America has lost three billion birds since 1970, and more than 500 bird species are at risk of extinction across Latin America and the Caribbean. Birds act as early warning systems about the health of our environment, and they tell us that birds – and our planet – are in crisis. Together as one Audubon, we are working to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss. We do this by implementing on-the-ground conservation, partnering with local communities, influencing public and corporate policy, and building community. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Megan Moriarty, [email protected] 

 

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