New campaign will educate state leaders across the country, and support state policies
WASHINGTON, DC — Today a coalition of business leaders, clean energy advocates, and environmental organizations launched “Transmission Possible,” a new campaign to build support at the local, state, and federal levels for upgrading America’s energy transmission infrastructure. Transmission Possible is led by the industry association Advanced Energy United and includes the American Council on Renewable Energy, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, and the Northeast Clean Energy Council.
The campaign will support four pillars of work:
- Encouraging regional collaboration among states to plan transmission lines across state boundaries.
- Endorsing state policies that encourage the buildout of transmission lines.
- Supporting deployment of immediate solutions to grid “congestion,” including tools known as high-performance conductors and grid-enhancing technologies.
- Hosting a resource hub for decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public about the role of transmission in ensuring grid reliability and accelerating the transition to clean energy.
In both the summer and winter of 2023, the North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) warned that large swaths of North America could face energy shortages due to strain on fossil fuel power plants and aging transmission infrastructure, underscoring the urgency of upgrading regional energy grids. Even though there is enough clean energy in the development pipeline to reliably supply 80% of the country’s electricity, much of it is stuck in interconnection queues waiting for transmission infrastructure to catch up.
“Our antiquated power grid is in desperate need of upgrading. We’re launching this campaign to empower communities and leaders with the information they need to champion the building of a bigger and better power grid,” said Heather O’Neill, President and CEO at Advanced Energy United. “Transmission Possible is a campaign and a call to action. We are united in our commitment to build a reliable and resilient energy system that will deliver the clean energy we need.”
“Policymakers are increasingly aware that a lack of sufficient interregional transmission capacity is threatening grid reliability, raising electricity bills, and slowing the pace of low-cost clean energy deployment,” said Ray Long, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). “Disadvantaged and low-income communities are disproportionately affected by insufficient transmission. Improving America’s transmission infrastructure is a top priority for ACORE and we look forward to continued collaboration with Advanced Energy United as we work together to build support for the grid our nation needs.”
“To grow our economy, we must expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-capacity grid," said Christina Hayes, Executive Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. "Expanding transmission is a project on the magnitude of building America’s interstate highway system, and is crucial to providing customers access to reliable and cost-effective energy. Transmission Possible will amplify ACEG's work and enhance understanding around the key decisions that will secure our energy future.”
“Transmission is an essential component of reducing emissions and addressing the climate crisis,” said Veronica Ung-Kono, Staff Attorney and Transmission Policy Specialist at National Wildlife Federation (NWF). “By working together, we can build reliable, affordable, and clean, low-impact power for people and wildlife.”
“By building transmission lines to clean energy sources, like offshore wind, we can create a better, more reliable power grid that ensures lower energy costs and increased energy diversity and independence,” said Kelt Wilska, Offshore Wind Director at the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM). “Working together, states and communities can build necessary transmission infrastructure for renewables, while strengthening our regional economy, protecting ratepayers, improving public health, and creating high-quality jobs and equitable access to economic opportunity.”
Experts say that to reach our national goal of 100% clean energy by 2035, the U.S. will have to build as many as 91,000 miles of new transmission lines over the next decade, which could create up to 3.3 million jobs, spur $15.3 billion in private capital investments, and save customers billions a year on their electricity bills. In the interim, widespread deployment of grid-enhancing technologies could unlock as much as 40% more capacity from our existing transmission infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions by 90 million tons a year — the equivalent of taking every gasoline-powered car in Texas off the road.
Leading the Transmission Possible campaign is Verna Mandez, Director at Advanced Energy United.
“Much of America’s transmission infrastructure was built in the 1950s and ‘60s, and even though the technology has come a long way since then, we really haven’t made any significant improvements to the grid in 70 years,” said Verna Mandez, Director at Advanced Energy United and overseeing Transmission Possible. “America and its energy needs are growing and building interregional transmission lines is the way we ensure we have a reliable power grid that cost-effectively delivers energy from where it's generated to where it’s needed.”
Learn more at TransmissionPossible.org.
Click here to learn more about Advanced Energy United's work advocating at the local, state, and federal levels to build support for meaningful expansion of electric transmission infrastructure.