Reid, Pickens & Podesta to Obama: Make Way for a National Grid

The three grid musketeers are at it again. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, energy magnate T. Boone Pickens and Center for American Progress Action Fund President and Chief Executive John Podesta kicked off a new policy push today, calling for the Obama administration to invest in not only clean energy projects, but also a national transmission buildout and smart grid technology.

electricity_grid_v2“There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the importance of developing our nation’s clean energy resources,” Reid said in a release issued today after an event with his two cohorts held in Washington, D.C., “but as we learned during the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas last summer, transmission remains one of our biggest obstacles.”

Reid, Pickens and Podesta (who also joined up for the National Clean Energy Project summit in D.C. last month), sent a letter to President Barack Obama along these lines today, adding a new 70-page policy paper from the Center for American Progress.

Called Wired for Progress 2.0: Building a National Clean Energy Smart Grid, the paper comes as a follow up to work the group released last month. This time around, they’re laying out specific policies for interconnection-wide planning of transmission networks designed to deliver renewable energy from rural areas to population centers. Top of the list: consolidate the siting approval process into a single FERC proceeding, an undertaking laden with debates about states’ rights and eminent domain.

Of course, energy lobbying is a booming industry right now, and Podesta, Pickens and Reid, are hardly alone in seeking sway over the energy and climate policy that’s now up for debate in Congress. But these guys fall in the superheavyweight category — Reid is valuable enough to Obama in the Senate that the President will reportedly headline an upcoming fundraiser in Las Vegas to help keep him in the majority leader post. So this letter to Obama? It’s also meant for states, and maybe the American public.