The electricity transmission infrastructure in the United States is facing what The Edison Foundation calls its “greatest challenge” in its history; modernization and expansion as demand, reliability, and geographic scope continue to grow. The Edison Foundation estimates that the industry will have to invest up to $2.0 trillion to keep infrastructure up to date and functional. With over 200,000 miles of high-voltage lines from the Eastern Interconnection to the Western Interconnection, the grid will have to evolve to accommodate a growing population compounded by a growing demand for reliable electricity. In addition to the natural need to keep infrastructure up to date and functional, the grid will need to adapt to new technology and new systems for adding power to the grid. As the renewable energy industries expand and establish themselves in newer markets, so too must the grid grow and expand its functions. Transmission infrastructure must adapt to demand response technology, solar and wind distributed generation, smart buildings, biogas digesters, small-hydro power, smart metering systems and more.
What are the existing transmission infrastructure strengths and weaknesses?
What regulatory body should be in charge of transmission infrastructure?
Planning and siting?
Cost & Recovery Allocation
Renewable Energy Integration?
Is grid modernization a local, state, or national issue?
What are the most immediate challenges to transmission line modernization?
What role will utilities play in transmission modernization?
Who should be paying for new utility line installation?
What are the biggest reliability obstacles facing modernization?
What is the general cost and implementation outlook for modernization?
Philip Q Hanser, The Brattle Group, Principal
Julie Simon, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Deputy Director, Office of Energy Policy and Innovation
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