Giving Landowners the Power in Assembling Transmission Corridors

To implement renewable energy resources in a meaningful way, new high-voltage transmission lines are needed. The development of new transmission lines will allow our nation’s most ample sustainable resources, such as wind and solar, to replace dirty and imported alternatives. Some engineers estimate that seven billion dollars of transmission investment is required over the next 17 years to properly implement such renewable energy generation.

Unfortunately, much of this development is not taking place. In part, the legal process for acquiring transmission corridors has frustrated development. The current legal process suffers from the following problems: (a) a lack of conformity between state laws for siting transmission and condemning land, (b) landowners’ distrust of government, developers, and one another, and (c) the inability of eminent domain to provide just compensation.

Fortunately, solutions are available to address these problems, and this article explores them.

It was written by Brandon Gerstle, an environmental attorney with a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law and a former Energy Fellow with us. We commissioned the study, and it first appeared in the Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation: Vol 29 No 3, at the University of Oregon School of Law. Brandon offered special thanks to the Center's senior policy advocate Johnathan Hladik J.D. for his considerable oversight and assistance.

Download a copy of the Article below as a pdf.