The CHARGE Act would establish critical electricity infrastructure needed to improve reliability, lower costs for ratepayers, spur clean energy innovation
Washington (March 17, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and co-chair of the Senate Climate Task Force, today introduced the Connecting Hard-to-reach Areas with Renewably Generated Energy (CHARGE) Act, comprehensive legislation that would lay the groundwork for America’s clean energy revolution. The legislation positions the United States to proactively plan and build a reliable and resilient energy grid across broad regions of the country, to bridge the gap between the supply of renewable energy and the cities and towns that need energy access. Federal policy is key to building this interstate power line system, just as it was for building the interstate highway system. Senator Markey’s legislation would implement a series of reforms through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to accelerate a clean energy transition by supporting planning, transparency, competition, and effective oversight of transmission networks that can deliver clean electricity throughout the country. The legislation is co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
“For the United States to run on green energy, we first need to build green infrastructure,” said Senator Markey. “Right now, the United States relies on two-lane roads for our electricity traffic when we need a renewable energy superhighway. The CHARGE Act lays the groundwork for an energy grid that can support an explosion of electric-powered vehicles and buildings, while also improving energy reliability, lowering costs for consumers, and spurring economic competition. My legislation will supply America with the tools and guidance needed to turn the clean energy revolution up a notch, accelerating our shift to true energy-independence that breaks our nation’s reliance on foreign oil from countries like Russia.”
“It’s time for Congress to make smart investments in clean energy plans that will mitigate climate change’s threat to our nation’s health and economy and create good paying, union jobs. The CHARGE Act takes strong action to ensure that we’re investing in a reliable and resilient clean energy grid for generations to come,” said Senator Warren.
“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has given Americans a bitter lesson about our reliance on fossil energy,” said Senator Smith. “We must get off this fossil fuel roller coaster and become energy independent; no foreign dictator can tell us when the wind blows or the sun shines. The CHARGE Act is an important step towards the clean electric grid we need for a clean energy future, which will mean lower energy prices for Americans, massive public health benefits, and will help us ensure a livable planet.”
Specifically, the CHARGE Act includes provisions to:
The CHARGE Act is endorsed by Public Citizen, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), New Consensus, Grid Strategies, and Digital Climate Action.
“Senator Markey’s proposed electric power transmission reforms will help balance the protection of consumers and communities of color while encouraging the expansion of transmission necessary to integrate renewable energy into the grid. These common-sense improvements will safeguard communities’ due process, ensure affordable electric rates while taking the needed steps to decarbonize power markets. We applaud Sen. Markey for his leadership,” said Tyson Slocum, Energy Program Director, Public Citizen.
“Now more than ever it is clear that the nation’s security relies on true independence from fossil fuels and a transition to clean energy produced here at home,” said Danielle Fidler, an attorney at Earthjustice. “A robust transmission system is essential to the clean energy economy of tomorrow, and we applaud Sen. Markey for his leadership in requiring that effective transmission planning start today,” said Danielle Fidler, Attorney, Earthjustice.
“Building long-haul transmission lines is one of the best things we can do to save consumers money, improve the reliability of the grid, and connect new clean energy resources,” said Cullen Howe, a senior advocate at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “This important legislation will give FERC the resources it needs to help break the logjam and get these much-needed transmission lines built as quickly as possible,” said Cullen Howe, Senior Advocate, NRDC.
“America needs to overhaul our electric grid. There's no way to get to zero emissions without that. As the interstate highway system allows people and products to move across the US, our electric grid must allow for the flow of electricity from coast to coast. Senator Markey gets it. We are excited to stand with Senator Markey, who is once again at the vanguard of our efforts to combat climate change. The CHARGE Act makes necessary adjustments to our convoluted regulatory process, provides much-needed planning capacity, and gives electric transmission the focus it deserves. With leadership like Senator Markey's, we have a fighting chance to save our planet,” said Zack Exley, Executive Director, New Consensus.
“Transmission policies help unlock the vast supply of domestic US clean resources to power our transportation as well as power needs, and free up energy for allies around the world to use, freeing them from dependence on Russia and other petro states,” said Rob Gramlich, President, Grid Strategies.
“Developing more connected, intelligent infrastructure systems will play a crucial role in the United States’ ability to foster a sustainable society and spur long-term economic growth. The Digital Climate Alliance supports Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) proposed legislation to improve the carbon transparency of the grid,” said Tom Lawler, Advisor, Digital Climate Alliance.