New transmission is essential to get the full benefit of wind and solar generation.
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, January 18, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — On Jan. 12, the U.S. Department of Energy launched its Building a Better Grid initiative. The department is supporting the initiative with $20 billion in funding, and a resolve to improve the flow of electricity on the grid by all means, from technology upgrades to new interconnections.
The United States Energy Association will examine the DOE initiative and the urgent topic of transmission at a virtual press briefing on Friday, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
This is another in a series of press briefings Llewellyn King, energy writer and broadcaster, has organized in partnership with USEA. He will moderate the briefing, and USEA Acting Executive Director Sheila Hollis will give opening remarks.
“This is one of the most critical briefings in our series. The DOE has fired the starting gun, but the racetrack hasn’t been laid out yet,” King said.
The grid is viewed as inadequate to meet the needs imposed by increased use of utility-scale wind and solar generation. These renewables are often far from markets and there is a general agreement that new transmission, especially from west to east, is needed to efficiently bring it to market.
In announcing the initiative, DOE said, “Independent estimates indicate that we need to expand electricity transmission systems by 60 percent by 2030 and may need to triple it by 2050.”
Independent industry estimates put the real cost of expanding an upgrading the grid at $200 billion.
“The DOE funding will play an initiating role in unleashing private funding and shaping the evolution of the grid,” King said, adding, “It is one of the nation’s great infrastructural challenges.”
The format of these press briefings, which are held on Zoom, is a panel of experts addressing the topic and then taking questions from a panel of knowledgeable reporters.
Philip Moeller, Executive Vice President, Edison Electric Institute
Lanny Nickell, Vice President and COO, Southwest Power Pool
Duane Highley, President and CEO of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.
“This is a first-rate expert panel, and I hope they will be joined by a representative from the DOE,” King said.
Questions abound, such as how will the DOE funds be applied? What will the federal role be? How soon will new construction start? How will rights-of way be secured when they have met fierce local opposition in the past? What will be the balance between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the DOE? Can opposition from the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners be accommodated?
Members of the press in the audience can submit their questions via the Zoom chat function, as can other members of the audience. A recording will be available on https://usea.org.