On December 13, the Co-Chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Clean Energy Deployment Task Force, Reps. Sean Casten (IL-06) and Mike Levin (CA-49) introduced the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration (CETA) Act, legislation that comprehensively addresses the primary permitting and transmission issues that are holding back the American clean energy transition.
“When Congressman Mike Levin and I started our work on the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act, we did so with two goals in mind,” said SEEC Clean Energy Deployment Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Sean Casten (IL-06). “First, to address the primary issues holding back our clean energy transition. Second, to craft a bill that may serve as the consensus transmission and permitting reform bill of the House Democratic Caucus. We are incredibly proud to introduce a bill that paves the way for more electricity transmission buildout and has the support of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition and co-sponsors from across the Democratic Party.”
The Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration (CETA) Act is a comprehensive approach to addressing the primary permitting issues holding back the clean energy transition. The biggest challenge facing the United States’ ability to meet its climate goals is the lack of capacity of our electrical grid to connect clean energy generation to the new demand that comes with economy-wide electrification. In addition to tackling the climate crisis by unlocking the full potential of renewable energy, CETA will reduce energy costs by enabling the cleanest, least-expensive forms of energy — renewables — to connect to the grid.
CETA aims to inclusively and efficiently support the buildout of transmission lines to transport the electricity from its generation source to the homes of the American people. CETA will also increase the grid’s reliability and resilience in the face of increasing extreme weather events. CETA also promotes the development of renewable energy on public lands and oceans in a responsible, equitable and efficient manner, further reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Additionally, the rapid buildout of the clean energy economy necessitates more robust community engagement to ensure all voices are heard and disadvantaged communities are not disproportionately impacted. Community engagement is important to address potential concerns early and head off issues that may otherwise lead to time-consuming lawsuits. CETA tackles this by expanding the role for disadvantaged communities to be meaningfully consulted as part of the permitting process.
In brief, CETA would:
- Amend the Federal Power Act to direct the Federal Regulatory Commission to issue new rules on improving interregional planning, siting and deployment of transmission.
- Provide a 30% transmission investment tax credit.
- Incentivize development of renewable energy on priority areas within the country’s public lands.
- Reform the Outer Continental Shelf Lands to encourage offshore wind deployment.
- Expand meaningful consultation with disadvantaged groups and communities in the permitting process.
“Last Congress, Democrats made the single largest investment in climate action in U.S. history. Now, we must unlock its full potential by addressing the transmission permitting issues that are preventing us from bringing clean energy from where it’s generated to American households,” said SEEC Clean Energy Deployment Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49). “Our Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act will support the responsible buildout of transmission and renewables, while strengthening environmental protections and bringing impacted communities to the decision-making table. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make these necessary investments to improve the resilience of our grid and ensure all Americans have access to clean, affordable energy.”
The bill is endorsed by SEEC, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the New Democrat Coalition. Reps. Casten and Levin introduced the bill along with 74 of their House Democratic colleagues as cosponsors. The full list of original cosponsors can be found here.
“This is the right way to do permitting reform. We need to create a clean energy economy that’s equitable and efficient, and this measure would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal,” said Christy Goldfuss, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a press statement. “This legislation would accelerate the construction of new, clean energy resources and the transmission lines to carry that energy. We need to build these new projects — and we need to build them right so that they enjoy public support and avoid unnecessary delays.”
News item from the Office of Representative Sean Casten