Interagency Rapid Response Team for Transmission

The Obama Administration is focused on building the infrastructure needed to support a clean energy economy because the countries that lead in clean energy will be the countries that lead the 21st century global economy. Electric transmission projects are one specific area where the Administration is acting to catalyze the transition to a clean energy economy. Building greater transmission infrastructure will facilitate, among other things, increased reliability, the greater integration of renewable sources of electricity into the grid; will accommodate a growing number of electric vehicles on America’s roads; and will reduce the need for new power plants.

Transmission projects involve multiple Federal, state, and tribal agencies and are subject to a wide array of processes and procedural requirements for compliance. Delays in securing needed statutory reviews, permits, and consultations can threaten timely completion of these projects. Recognizing the need for Federal agencies to coordinate their efforts on transmission and to quickly respond to challenges, nine Federal agencies have been closely coordinating their review of electric transmission on Federal lands under a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed in 2009. Additionally, the President recently issued a Memorandum stating that agencies should: "ensure that their processes for reviewing infrastructure proposals work efficiently to protect our environment, provide for public participation and certainty of process, ensure safety, and support vital economic growth."

Building on the cooperation developed through the MOU, and in response to the Presidential Memorandum, the Administration has created a Rapid Response Team for Transmission (RRTT).

Rapid Response Team for Transmission:
The RRTT aims to improve the overall quality and timeliness of electric transmission infrastructure permitting, review, and consultation by the Federal government on both Federal and non‐Federal lands through:

  • Coordinating statutory permitting, review, and consultation schedules and processes among involved Federal and state agencies, as appropriate, through Integrated Federal Planning;
  • Applying a uniform and consistent approach to consultations with Tribal governments; and,
  • Resolving interagency conflicts and ensuring that all involved agencies are fully engaged and
    meeting timelines.

Participating Agencies include: the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Electric Regulatory Commission, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

The RRTT is a common‐sense approach in support of the effort to speed job creation in the near term while increasing our competitiveness and strengthening the economy in the long term.

Selected Transmission Projects:
The RRTT will focus initially on seven pilot project transmission lines which, when built, will help increase electric reliability, integrate new renewable energy into the grid, and save consumers money. The projects cross through 12 states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The seven pilot projects were carefully selected from lists produced through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act‐funded, independent, broad stakeholder processes led by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council in the western interconnection, and by the Eastern Interconnection States' Planning Council for the eastern interconnection. These seven pilot projects are estimated to create more than 11,000 construction and operation jobs.

In selecting the seven pilot projects, the following principles were considered:

  • Projects that address reliability and/or provide capacity for new commercial scale renewable and clean energy sources (on and off Federal lands);
  • Projects with some level of geographic diversity in both the eastern and western interconnections;
  • Projects with opportunities to expand or improve agency cooperation such as "Qualifying Projects" as defined by the 2009 MOU with unique permitting challenges and near‐term critical milestones; and
  • Projects (in the west) which use corridors designated on Federal lands through Section 368 of
    the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Next Steps:
DOE will develop an electronic dashboard for each RRTT pilot project to track, for each proposed
project: required permits, agency points of contact, milestones and due dates, and descriptions of

For a list and map of the transmission line pilot projects please visit:

For more information on the Memorandum of Understanding please visit: