“For the wind marketplace, the order allows developers to move ahead knowing that FERC has set a priority for clean energy projects,” Schulz says. “If five transmission lines are scheduled to be built, the renewable-energy project will take priority. They [FERC] see that the country needs to move toward clean energy.”

“This is huge for all renewable energy, whether photovoltaic or wind. It really gives us confidence that we can move ahead in terms of economics and spend money,” Shulz says.

While passage of FERC Order 1000 is a positive sign, Schulz says the industry still needs Congress to do its part by developing a clean-energy standard. “This order will raise awareness about the political importance of providing a clean-energy bill,” he says.

Peter Vigue, president and CEO of Cianbro, Pittsfield, Maine, says the order addresses the reliability of transmission service.  “With rising demand for electricity, the current capacity of our transmission system is inadequate, long-term,” he says.

Order 1000 will further assist in the siting and permitting processes for transmission projects, he says.

Vigue says the order has the potential for lowering the cost of transmission service. “I think it will promote and assist in the development of merchant transmission lines,” he says, by possibly providing an opportunity for electricity users to pay for use of transmission lines, similar to a tolling approach.

With demand for electricity generation changing, he says,  “We need clear direction, and it is important that orders such as this set a standard for us.”