GEOG 469
Energy Industry Applications of GIS

Lesson 5 - Overview of Electric Energy Transmission Siting Criteria


An Overview of Lesson 5

The lesson introduces the criteria for siting new electric transmission lines. In general, the siting criteria principles used for electric transmission lines can also be used, with some modifications, to site oil and gas pipelines, highway corridors, rail corridors, and generating facilities.

Power lines in a field
Figure 5.1: Overhead Electrical Transmission Lines
Credit: CC BY NC-SA 2.0 some rights reserved by abrigenn

What will we learn in Lesson 5?

In this lesson, we will learn how the distribution of electricity began and how it has evolved through the years. Along with this expansion of electricity came the regulation of the electric utility industry, from production through delivery. We will learn how these regulations came to be and how they have been changed to meet changing demands and needs. In the United States, both federal and state governments have a prominent place in developing and enforcing these regulations. We will learn where the federal government has jurisdiction and where state government has control. We will learn that the regulation of transmission lines from state to state is not standardized. The siting of transmission lines is a complex process, and we will be introduced to the criteria used in siting these lines.

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to describe:

  • how the distribution of electricity in the United States was created and how it has evolved;
  • how regulations evolved and what jurisdiction federal and state governments have in the siting of proposed transmission lines; and
  • what criteria are used in the siting process.

What is due for Lesson 5?

This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates. Specific directions for the assignment below can be found within this lesson.

  • State-by-state (or country) comparison of transmission line size.


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.