Our BIG ask: Cosponsor the BIG WIRES Act
Better energy transmission is key to successful permitting reform 🔑
Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor the BIG WIRES Act.
- Makes America’s energy grid more resilient and reliable 💪
- Encourages states to build infrastructure we need to move to clean energy 🙌
- Can pass as part of an end-of-year omnibus package 🎉
Americans deserve a reliable power grid and affordable clean energy, and this bill would help make that a reality.
Take action now by calling your members of Congress asking them to cosponsor. (If they have already signed on as a cosponsor, you will be prompted with a thank you message instead!)
What is the BIG WIRES Act? Aren’t our wires big enough?
Nope – not yet at least. The BIG WIRES Act deals with an element of permitting that has not been sufficiently addressed yet: energy transmission.
The bill requires regions to be able to transfer 30% of their peak demand between each other. However, it’s totally technology-neutral, meaning it doesn’t specify how regions need to achieve that 30% mark. They can use any method(s) they want, including:
- Building new transmission lines
- Upgrading existing facilities
- Increasing energy efficiency to reduce peak demand
- Implementing grid-enhancing technologies (like advanced power control flows, dynamic line ratings, etc.)
- Adding new generation or storage to move more power
The idea is that when we can share energy on a stronger grid, we can avoid problems like we faced in the big Texas freeze when the state couldn’t generate enough power to meet the sudden huge demand. We need more reliable transmission to ensure everyone can navigate these weather events safely. Sharing power also reduces costs overall. Energy-rich communities will profit from their resources, grid outages will become less common and energy bills will go down.
As an added bonus, if regions choose to build new transmission lines to meet the bill’s requirements, we can use those in the future to transmit clean energy where it’s needed most. We already need the infrastructure for a shift to clean energy, and this bill would start us off on the right foot.
Take a deep dive on BIG WIRES in this video:
Frequently (and infrequently) asked questions 👇
Why do we need clean energy permitting reform?
Permitting is important, but it adds hefty time and expense to projects of all kinds. It takes an average of 4.5 years for federal agencies to complete environmental impact statements for major energy projects. And without permitting reform, 80% of the potential carbon pollution reductions from the Inflation Reduction Act will be lost 👎
Permitting reform is critical if we’re going to make the clean energy transition happen fast enough to meet our climate targets and should be done in a way that protects communities, preserves their ability to provide input and maintains environmental standards.
Why do we need the BIG WIRES Act?
There are three key parts to successful permitting reform:
- Building and deploying new energy projects at a faster pace ⏰
- Increasing transmission 📈
- Prioritizing early community involvement 🤝
The debt ceiling bill earlier this year worked to address number one. The BIG WIRES Act will help with number two. It’s the next step forward on permitting reform.
Will permitting reform increase fossil fuel production?
Most of the new infrastructure proposed in the U.S. is now for clean energy. Reports from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory find that in 2021, 85% of new energy capacity was clean energy. More than 92% of new energy projects currently awaiting permits are solar and wind, and just 7.5% are natural gas. In each of the past three years, 84% of new energy capacity built in the United States was clean energy.
Why does CCL support this bill?
Permitting reform has been one of our top priorities in 2023. In June, CCL volunteers sent 15,551 messages to congressional offices and held 436 lobby meetings on Capitol Hill asking for permitting reform legislation with a focus on transmission. In September, after the debt ceiling bill didn’t quite do enough to address permitting reform, we did another push telling Congress we wanted to see more.
This November, our volunteers will be lobbying virtually with Congressional offices and primarily asking for permitting reform legislation to pass, including the BIG WIRES Act. Contacting Congress now lays additional important groundwork for those citizen lobby meetings next month.
Do I have to call Congress? On the PHONE?
Trust us, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents, and they have systems in place to make phone calls nice and easy. You may be directed to voicemail, where you can leave a personalized message or use the script in our Click to Call tool. Or you may reach a staffer ready to hear what you have to say. You’ll relay your message, they’ll thank you for calling and boom – done ☎️
How does the Click to Call tool work?
The Click to Call tool makes it easy to call three members of Congress in one fell swoop.
- With click-to-call, you click “Call Me,” the tool will call your phone and ask you to press one (‘1’) when you are ready to be connected to your first member of Congress.
- You will be called from a Virginia phone number.
- If using a mobile phone, you can switch back to the script during the call by switching back to the mobile browser.
- Ending the call with an office:
- If you speak with someone live, when the office disconnects the call (hangs up) you will automatically be connected to the next office.
- If you leave a voicemail for an office, press star (‘*’) to connect to the next congressional office.
Check out our two-minute instructional video for a full explanation of how it works.
How else can I help?
You only need to call your members of Congress once yourself. If you’re a CCL member, your action will be automatically logged in the Action Tracker. Then, share this page with any friends, family and coworkers who want to see permitting reform addressed in a comprehensive legislative package by the end of the year!
Who is Citizens’ Climate Lobby?
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy climate change organization that exists to create the political will for climate change solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.
Our consistently respectful, nonpartisan approach to climate education is designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations.
CCL empowers everyday people to work with their community and their members of Congress. Our supporters cover the political spectrum and work in more than 450 local chapters. Together, we’re building support for a national bipartisan solution to climate change.