Delivering A Transmission Playbook to New England Governors

Posted by Verna Mandez and Jeremy McDiarmid on Jul 11, 2023 12:00:00 PM

Blog The Six Steps to a Better Grid in the NortheastAcross the country, clean energy developers are facing increasingly long and costly waits to connect their projects to the grid. The core problem they face is the lack of grid infrastructure to get clean electricity from where it’s made to where it is used 

New England is no exception to this challenge: a recent report from our friends at Americans for a Clean Energy Grid gave New England’s grid a D+ grade overall and an F for “Transmission Capacity Available for New Resources.”  

Despite giant technological leaps in solar, wind, and other clean technologies, our transmission system – the high-voltage network of cables and towers that carry electricity over long distances – looks much like it did a century ago. Fortunately, the New England states are working together to change this; while we applaud the work that’s been done so far, it needs to move faster and look bigger than ever before. 

That is why, last week, Advanced Energy United delivered a playbook to the six New England governors in which we laid out six critical steps to building the utility grid we need. As we describe in our playbook, there is an undeniable urgency because transmission development processes often take a decade or more. Time is of the essence.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the six elements of United’s 21st Century Grid Playbook: 

  1. Executive Leadership. Governors hold a vaunted position, and their leadership is critical to set the direction and create the political will to drive this effort forward. We’ve asked governors to publicly show their commitment. 

  2. Think as a Region. The New England states, working with ISO New England and a broad set of stakeholders, should immediately boost existing actions to incorporate existing planning efforts across the region. 

  3. Figure out the Money. Working together, this summer the states should reach an agreement on how to pay for the transmission projects needed. An agreed-upon cost-sharing framework will ensure the benefits of transmission investments to each state, the region, and interregional connection are roughly commensurate with the cost of investment. 

  4. Maximize Competition. A collaborative approach will reduce costs and ensure that projects get built. Harnessing competition means driving costs down and allowing for creativity in meeting the region’s transmission needs. 

  5. Deploy Technology and Existing Footprints. Costs should be minimized, and efficiencies maximized, using new technologies like reconductoring and other grid enhancing technologies that make existing networks more efficient. 

  6. Develop Proactive, Meaningful Community Engagement. Under this effort, extensive community engagement strategies should be developed. 

Much of the work is under way, but it will require a sustained effort from many stakeholders to improve our grid and our grades, unlocking the potential for homegrown clean energy from Maine to Connecticut. 

While we remain optimistic for New England and the rest of the country, we know it will be a hard road. That’s why United has developed a Transmission Campaign dedicated to moving transmission policy forward in states and regions across the United States. To find out more, visit here.

Topics: Transmission, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire



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