This scenario analysis looks at four possible futures of the transmission and distribution grid. By exploring two salient axes—technology and policy, the paper lays out a simple but powerful frame for thinking about the future of transmission and distribution. The paper clearly explains each of the four scenarios that the axes create, and then draws a couple of important conclusions. First, it points out that distribution system upgrades should be a no-regrets move. Second, it suggests that we cannot “build ourselves out of” the transmission and distribution challenges we face as we expand and transform generation capacity – for the grid to continue to serve us, we must move forward on both transmission and distribution technology as well as pure capacity.
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