March 7, 2023

Professor to be published in Washington University Law Review

Professor Kristen van de Biezenbos' article argues against regional electricity transmission monopolies.

Professor Kristen van de Biezenbos' article is forthcoming in Washington University Law Review. According to the article, the US will need to build significant regional transmission infrastructure to achieve the country’s goal of net zero power by 2035. However, there is a significant barrier: the transmission system is almost entirely owned by private monopolies. As a result, the grid has grown not to serve the public interest but in accordance with the economic priorities of these monopolies, which are not incentivized to innovate, find efficiencies, or lower costs. "The Case Against Regional Transmission Monopolies" argues that the circuit split obscures the stronger legal analysis, which is that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s withdrawal of the federal right of first refusal (ROFR) was within its exclusive jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act and thus renders state ROFRs per se invalid. Kristen also argues that FERC must maintain the withdrawal of the federal ROFR despite monopoly pressure, as doing so would result in the blanket removal of both federal and state ROFRs. Lifting the gatekeeping effects of the ROFRs would finally allow more robust competition for regional transmission projects and facilitate building the decarbonized grid we need.

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