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Topic: Interconnection

[Episode #227] – FERC Order 1920

The United States faces significant challenges in deploying enough transmission capacity and interconnections to support a modernized grid. Approximately 2.5 TW of new clean wind, solar, and storage capacity is currently on hold — twice the country’s current generating capacity of 1.28 TW. These projects are just awaiting transmission interconnections. Building the necessary infrastructure and securing these interconnections would revolutionize the U.S. power grid, likely eliminating all fossil-fuel (and eventually nuclear) generation.

However, investor-owned utilities have historically obstructed the development of new transmission capacity, both within and between their regional transmission grids. In 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sought to address these barriers with Order 1000, but utilities resisted, attempting to undermine and weaken the order. Despite some progress within Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), no new transmission projects outside of these RTOs have been realized under Order 1000. This bottleneck has hindered the energy transition and state-level goals to expand clean energy use and phase out fossil-fueled power under their own renewable portfolio standards.

In response, FERC introduced Order 1920 in May this year, aimed at compelling utilities and regional transmission organizations to undertake long-term regional planning of transmission systems.

In this episode, we are rejoined by Ari Peskoe, Director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School, to walk us through the history of Order 1000 and to explain the implications of the new Order 1920. He’s one of the top scholars in the country on transmission regulation and we’re very pleased that he was willing to share his expertise with us once again.

This 80-minute discussion gets quite technical, but after listening to it you will begin to see a clear picture of a future in which new transmission lines unlock the potential of the wind and solar resources in the US and help us completely decarbonize the power grid.


Ari Peskoe is Director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School.  He has written extensively about electricity regulation, on issues ranging from rooftop solar to Constitutional challenges to states’ energy laws.

On Twitter: @AriPeskoe

On the Web: Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law School

Geek rating: 9