Building transmission lines from remote, renewable-energy-rich areas may have become simpler in late February after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that a transmission company may negotiate capacity rights on two proposed lines with a single buyer. Before the decision, FERC required power transmission companies to offer the entire capacity at the same price and for the same length of time in an open-bidding period called “open season.” In its decision, FERC admitted the open-season rule has become “unduly rigid and inflexible,” and is not conducive to developing renewable transmission projects. FERC will evaluate similar applications on a case-by-case basis.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.