Decisions and investments made in the coming decade will shape the course of the United States’ power sector, economy, and public health for decades to come. Will this massive investment lock in an inefficient, century-old system reliant primarily on centralized fossil fuel, or will it move us toward a cleaner, more efficient, and economic energy future?
According to independent expert analyses, the cost of a renewables-heavy grid is lower than the existing system, but only with robust transmission to complement it. The barriers to building new high voltage lines and optimizing the grid aren’t technical or economic, but rather bureaucratic. Insufficient policies prevent the U.S. from accessing its rich resources of clean energy, and spreading the resulting benefits throughout the economy.
In addition to classic transmission planning, work in the area of “non-transmission alternatives” can also play an important role in minimizing system costs by taking advantage of a whole new class of reliable, clean resources. Non-transmission alternatives include resources like energy efficiency, local generation, microgrids, demand response, and more.
Energy Innovation’s papers on transmission and siting comprise a toolkit for state and federal decision makers to coordinate better, engage stakeholders more effectively, optimize the existing grid, capitalize upon important non-transmission demand-side resources demand-side, and stimulate competition to fast-track the most important projects.