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Canary Media: Fixing the US power grid: A challenge for 2023 and beyond

Posted by Jeff St. John on Dec 29, 2022

Canary Media detailed the need to strengthen the country’s electricity system, quoting Amisha Rai on how the US can build out its energy infrastructure. Read snippets below and the full article here

The grid may be the weakest link in the chain connecting the U.S. to a clean energy future. 

Strengthening it to support the decarbonization of the country’s electricity system will take hundreds of billions of dollars of new investment, according to multiple studies. But money alone won’t be enough. It will also require a rapid evolution of the regulatory structures that determine how high-voltage transmission lines get built. Tricky regulatory issues include how to site the lines without running roughshod over landowner rights or harming the environment, how to speed up the construction process, and how to determine who should cover the costs...

While many of the states within those regions haven’t set their own clean-energy targets, others have. These include Colorado and Nevada, where legislators passed laws in 2021 ordering state agencies and regulators to pursue membership in a regional transmission organization by no later than 2030

Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group of companies with clean-energy goals, has been a big backer of expanding the scope of regional energy markets to include transmission planning. This summer, it released a report that found that an RTO covering 11 Western states could expand clean-energy capacity by up to 4.4 gigawatts and save states $2 billion per year in energy costs through 2030

Getting all the utilities and states in a region to agree on how they’d share costs and cede authority over transmission planning to a newly created RTO would be a fraught and complicated process, however. Clean-energy trade groups including AEE have pitted themselves against the Southeast U.S. utilities that formed the region’s new energy market, saying that it won’t provide enough independent oversight to ensure that it promotes clean-energy development over protecting the fossil-fueled power plants owned by utilities in the region. 

But as states are ramping up their supply of clean energy resources, grappling with extreme weather events and all sorts of other…challenges, including energy affordability, there is a regional conversation that is spurred around how do we better facilitate those energy resources,” Amisha Rai, AEE managing director, said during a December webinar. 

How do we ensure better deliverability, better facilitation of the transmission lines that we have in the region, and better planning and coordination to ensure we’re building out that energy infrastructure in the best way?” she asked. Regulators, utilities, clean-energy developers and consumers eager for carbon-free power are increasingly engaging on these questions.

Read the full article here

Topics: 21st Century Electricity System, AEE In The News, Amisha Rai