WIRES Newsletter
Message from the Executive Director
When I started my new role as Executive Director of WIRES nearly six months ago, I couldn’t have imagined that I would be writing this message while “socially isolating” in a makeshift home office in the midst of a pandemic. To say these are unprecedented times is an understatement. Our dependence on a safe, reliable power grid to bring the electricity needed to sustain hospitals, to operate critical supply chains, and to support tens of millions of people working and learning remotely has never been more manifest. A tremendous thanks to the dedicated and hard-working employees of WIRES members, many of whom are exposing themselves to risk or sacrificing time away from their families in order to keep the power flowing.

We are already feeling the devastating impact on the economy, and it is clear that an enormous recovery effort will be needed in the wake of this crisis. Investment in infrastructure, including transmission, must be part of that effort. Building transmission where it is needed produces many benefits including creating good jobs, facilitating clean energy objectives and developing a more reliable and resilient grid. Policy-makers and regulators should aid in this effort by providing adequate rates of return and using incentives and other tools to send the right signals to get needed transmission built. In the coming months WIRES will continue to look for ways to educate policymakers and participate in an impactful way in proceedings on the benefits of and need for transmission investment.
 — Larry Gasteiger
Winter Planning Meeting
FEB 26-27th, DC   - WIRES welcomed the Honorable Richard Glick, FERC Commissioner to address members at the Winter Planning Meeting. A key theme of his comments was the “importance of certainty.” He spoke about the greening of the grid and acknowledged the transmission buildout that will be necessary to access new renewable resources. Glick shared his insights on outstanding proceedings including incentives, ROE and emphasized FERC’s interest in grid enhancement technologies such as dynamic line ratings, and ambient and seasonal adjustment ratings. Glick also addressed cost allocation and siting authority with states that have eminent domain and welcomed WIRES members’ input on Order 1000.

The business meeting covered a range of topics including: a review of WIRES' Vision/Mission and Principles; key policy initiatives, including priority themes for reports and white papers, and the creation of several committees to advance those projects; and an update on communications initiatives, including a refresh of WIRES’ website. Members may request a copy of the minutes from Andrew Brackbill.
FERC Developments
During its March 19th meeting, FERC outlined its NOPR on transmission incentives which articulated a shift in its policy to focus more on economic and customer benefits than the current risks and challenges framework. In addition FERC proposed doubling the RTO adder from 50 to 100 points for joining or remaining a member of a RTO or ISO. In general, WIRES and its members see these developments as a positive step forward in providing clearer signals for incentivizing transmission. WIRES plans to file comments on the incentives NOPR by the July 1st deadline.

Over the past few months, WIRES has filed a number of motions and requests with FERC. For your information, here are links to download PDFs of the filings:
ScottMadden Report
In mid-January WIRES released a comprehensive report, Informing the Transmission Discussion, prepared by ScottMadden. Its region-by-region analysis of renewables integration and resilience issues highlights concerns that without strategic and timely expansion of transmission infrastructure, the ability to meet clean energy mandates may be in jeopardy. The study also explores regional resilience concerns due to extreme weather events and limitations in the energy supply, and makes interregional recommendations for renewables integration and grid hardening.

WIRES' Larry Gasteiger, ScottMadden’s Cristin Lyons, along with support from WIRES members Donna Fulton of Eversource and Nina Plaushin of ITC, debuted the report’s findings with policy, energy trade and general business press. The study received broad initial coverage. Below are sample articles from our outreach efforts:

Member Profiles
WIRES is delighted to welcome ConEd Transmission and PSE&G as full supporting members.

PSE&G has been engaged in a successful multi-year program to rebuild New Jersey’s transmission infrastructure targeted at protecting the interests of its customers by supporting safe, reliable and resilient service, wider use of clean and renewable energy, and jobs and economic growth in New Jersey. Building on the successes of its transmission and distribution infrastructure replacement programs over the past decade that have enhanced reliability while customer bills are 30% lower than they were in 2008, over the next five years PSE&G is proposing to continue focusing on significant capital investments to further strengthen its electric systems to better withstand storms, further improve reliability and significantly enhance resiliency.

ConEd Transmission (CET) invests in electric transmission, including the company’s investments with New York Transco, LLC, which put new transmission assets in service in New York State in June 2016 and was also selected by the NYISO in 2019, at the conclusion of its first Order 1000 public policy planning process, to develop electric transmission in New York State to relieve congestion and allow more renewable energy to flow throughout the State. CET is also working with Sunrise Wind developers Orsted and Eversource to be the transmission owner for underwater transmission that will bring off-shore wind energy to benefit New York electric customers.

We appreciate the enthusiasm and engagement that ConEd Transmission’s Stuart Nachmias, and PSE&G’s Alex Stern, Jodi Moskowitz, and Cara Lewis have brought to our recent meetings and policy discussions.
Calendar and Events
The Transmission Summit East conference featured Larry Gasteiger as the keynote speaker. Addressing the conference’s 100 attendees, Gasteiger’s comments focused on the findings of the ScottMadden report and underscored the importance of consistent policy and positive signals from FERC.  RTO Insider's conference write up highlighted Gasteiger’s call to action.
Please save the date for WIRES Summer meeting: July 29-30. The meeting will most likely be virtual. More details to follow.
Member Participation
We look forward to members’ involvement in the many initiatives underway at WIRES. Please reach out to Larry Gasteiger if you are interested in joining the Communications or Policy committees.

In addition, we are eager to showcase member transmission initiatives on our social channels and via the newsletter. Please contact Heather Robb if you’d like us to highlight projects, communications campaigns and executive thought leadership and visibility.
WIRES is an international, non-profit trade association of investor-, publicly-, and cooperatively owned transmission providers, transmission customers, regional grid managers, and equipment and service companies. WIRES promotes investment in electric transmission and progressive state and federal policies that advance energy markets, economic efficiency, and consumer and environmental benefits through development of electric power infrastructure. For more information, visit www.wiresgroup.com.