Transmission is the backbone of our electric system and the foundation for our country’s growth and security. Expanding and upgrading the electric transmission network will strengthen America’s economy, spur the development and use of clean and renewable energy sources, and ensure a secure and modern power system.
The electric transmission system is a marvel of modern engineering that has powered our growth for over half a century. Today, the aging grid is less reliable and less capable of meeting our 21st Century needs for abundant, inexpensive and domestic clean energy. Outdated regulations governing the grid have not kept pace with our national goals and have been a hurdle to building the grid we need.
The Benefits of Modernizing our Outdated Grid
A Stronger Economy. A more closely connected and integrated grid opens up power markets and helps to lower costs to consumers. Building new transmission that connects renewable energy projects spurs job creation up and down the supply chain. A modern grid is more reliable, resilient, and secure, not only allowing more electricity to flow through the system but helping it to do so in a smart, efficient way. With better communications and controls at all levels of this complex system, consumers will get the power they need, when they need it, and often at a lower cost.
Clean Energy. From the winds of the Great Plains and our nation’s coasts to the desert sun of the Southwest, America has vast potential to generate abundant, cheap, renewable power to revitalize our economy, strengthen our national security, reduce pollution, and mitigate climate change. In order to tap this great resource, we must expand and upgrade our high-voltage electric power transmission system so that domestic renewable energy resources stranded in our rural areas will be developed and delivered around the country.
The Roadmap to our Energy Future
We all benefit from a robust and reliable transmission system, but there are crucial changes that must be made if we are to maximize the potential of a modern grid. To realize these benefits, we much change the way we plan, site, and pay for grid investments. We need a more coherent strategy that takes into account regional and national priorities.
The current state of transmission planning does not enable the multiple regional entities that control different parts of the nationwide grid to effectively communicate and coordinate about where and when transmission will be built, nor are they able to fairly share development costs.
These largely independent, though increasingly interconnected, grids must do more to communicate and coordinate with each other to not only keep the lights on, but also to plan for future system needs. We need national goals, and corresponding policy tools to plan, pay for, and site interstate transmission facilities to make the maximum amount of cost-effective, clean renewable energy available to consumers.
Learn more about how state and federal regulators are working with stakeholders to develop smarter, more streamlined ways to plan for new transmission infrastructure – and support our energy future.