STATEMENT BY RHONE RESCH ON THE SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE’S HEARING TO EXAMINE THE CHALLENGES AND REGIONAL SOLUTIONS TO DEVELOPING TRANSMISSION FOR RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY RESOURCES
“I commend Chairman Bingaman and the committee for convening today’s hearing on transmission for renewable electricity resources. Access to the transmission grid is vital to bringing new utility-scale solar projects online. Many of the best sites for developing renewable energy generation are in remote areas, far from where the electricity will be consumed, or in places that the existing transmission grid does not reach.
“One particular area of interest is the desert southwest, where world-class solar resources are found. However, the Department of Energy has identified that area – from Southern California east into Arizona – as one of the most congested regions in the country.
“Senator Reid has introduced legislation that would create ‘national renewable energy zones’ and would provide a backstop mechanism for federal funding of transmission lines built to access renewable generation.
“We need more of this kind of creative thinking, at the state, regional, and federal levels to overcome the challenge of building new transmission to solar-rich areas. Solar energy will be a significant part of any solution to cut our country’s carbon emissions and a shift to a clean energy future. We need investment in the transmission grid infrastructure now to guarantee that solar projects are developed and that clean, carbon-free electricity can be delivered to consumers across the nation.”