Value-effectively decarbonizing the U.S. electrical grid means constructing much more transmission capability, from interregional high-voltage corridors to hold far-off wind and photo voltaic sources to inhabitants facilities, to transmission networks to allow the nation’s huge offshore wind energy potential.
However U.S. transmission buildout has lagged behind this want, power consultants agree. Excessive-profile impartial transmission developments have faltered beneath the complexities of constructing huge capital initiatives throughout a number of jurisdictions, every able to halting decade-long growth processes via authorized or regulatory challenges.
Related divisions have slowed down the overwhelming majority of latest transmission growth that depends on rules to enlist a number of utilities and states in agreeing to share the prices and advantages of shared initiatives. The few exceptions to this rule, such because the transmission buildout enabled by Texas grid operator ERCOT’s CREZ coverage and Midwest grid operator MISO’s MVP coverage effort, underscore how a lot effort and time are required to align transmission buildouts throughout the footprint of a single impartial system operator (ISO) or regional transmission group (RTO), let alongside initiatives that cross these regional boundaries.
Because the federal company chargeable for interstate transmission coverage, the Federal Power Regulatory Fee might play a significant position in unblocking these bottlenecks, in line with former FERC commissioners and power consultants. And in contrast to many key clear power insurance policies, these transmission coverage efforts might cross partisan boundaries, by driving financial growth for wind and solar-rich states beneath Republican management in addition to for clear power pursuits supported by Democrats.
This affords the incoming Biden administration a beneficial alternative to direct FERC’s transmission coverage developments in methods that may assist its clear power and decarbonization ambitions. Right here’s an summary of what’s on the desk.