DOE grid chief pushes for permitting overhaul

By Brian Dabbs | 05/15/2024 07:02 AM EDT

Maria Robinson, the director of DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, said she is “hopeful” about a congressional deal.

Maria Robinson.

Department of Energy Grid Deployment Office Director Maria Robinson is seen during her confirmation hearing. Francis Chung/E&E News

A top Department of Energy official on Tuesday pressed Congress to pass laws speeding up permitting, even as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said there is little chance for a deal on the issue.

“We’re still hopeful there’s something going on over on the Hill,” Maria Robinson, the director of DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, said at an event held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We hear rumors every day. But I think it’s just one area where we can all agree there’s certainly room for some improvement.”

Energy analysts are forecasting a large uptick in power demand in coming years because of data centers, electrification of vehicles, home heating and other factors. Many utilities are planning to build more gas plants, while others are trying to erect new transmission lines to ferry renewable energy produced in rural areas to population centers.


“This is the first time in a long time that the electricity industry is seeing growth,” said Robinson. “They’re not necessarily prepared when doing long-term planning.”