The legislature’s top issue when the next session convenes will be keeping the lights on. Legislative leaders say they’ve decided their priority should be a network of transmission lines that will ensure the power supply isn’t interrupted. State Representative Willard Jenkins says that means building more power lines.He says there aren’t enough, and despite environmental and cost concerns, the lines may be even more important than generating the power. Jenkins says that reliable supply is also key to economic development.He says companies do look at what their supply and price will be for energy, and whether it will be available all the time. Last spring, lawmakers passed a measure to encourage new power plants in Iowa, and plans for several have been announced since then. The legislative oversight committee now says lawmakers should encourage building new transmission lines. A line is seldom owned by just one person or business, it’s coops and people along the line who own parts of it. Jenkins adds any transmission-line policy must also be capable of crossing state lines.He says Iowa isn’t an island, and we buy power from plants in other states and sometimes sell to out-of-state customers. Jenkins says deciding who’s responsible for building those cross-border lines will be one of the challenges for the legislative oversight committee.
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