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S. 539 (111th): Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

3/5/2009--Introduced. Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act - Amends the Federal Power Act to require the President to designate as national renewable energy zones areas that have: (1) the potential to generate in excess of one giawatt of electricity from renewable energy; (2) insufficient electric transmission capacity to achieve such potential; and (3) the capability to contain additional renewable energy generating facilities if there were a sufficient transmission capacity. Excludes specified areas from such zones, including national parks, wilderness areas, and historic sites.

Sets forth provisions concerning: (1) the certification by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of regional planning entities to coordinate planning efforts to integrate renewable energy resources from such zones into the interstate electric transmission grid and to make such resources fully deliverable to electricity consuming areas; (2) interconnection-wide green transmission grid project plans (grid project plans) and cost allocation plans; (3) the participation of specified federal transmitting utilities in the planning process; and (4) a federal transmission surcharge to generate revenue to enable entities and states to recover costs of planning activities.

Authorizes FERC to issue construction permits, that may permit the acquisition of a necessary right-of-way through eminent domain, for interconnection-wide green transmission grid projects (projects) that meet specified conditions.

Directs the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) to make grants to states and planning entities that submit or implement grid project plans for specified activities.

Requires the Bonneville Power Administration and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to establish: (1) wind integration programs; and (2) a joint geothermal integration program. Requires each of the Federal Power Marketing Administrations and the Tennessee Valley Authority to establish a solar integration program.

Requires: (1) federal transmitting utilities to undertake geographically diverse projects within their service territories to acquire and demonstrate electric and hybrid vehicles and related technologies as part of their fleets; and (2) the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of the Army to study reregulating facilities and pumped storage units at federal dams.

Authorizes WAPA to fund a wind-hydro or solar-hydro integration demonstration project.

Sets forth provisions concerning the creation and development of solar energy reserves on federal land.

Expands the purpose of incentive-based rate treatments for the transmission of electric energy by public utilities to include integrating renewable energy resources into the transmission system. Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to: (1) increase the maximum amount the Secretary may accept for transmission investments in WAPA and the Southwestern Area Power Administration territories; and (2) revise provisions concerning the Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project, including requiring the Secretary of the Interior to designate Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field offices in specified states to serve as Renewable Energy Pilot Project Offices for coordination of federal permits for renewable energy projects and renewable energy transmission involving federal land.