Originally published on American Council on Renewable Energy.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today identifies 22 shovel ready, high-voltage transmission projects across the country that, if constructed, would create approximately 1,240,000 American jobs and lead to 60,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy capacity, increasing America’s wind and solar generation by nearly 50 percent. The report, Transmission Projects Ready to Go: Plugging into America’s Untapped Renewable Resources, produced by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) as part of the Macro Grid Initiative, outlines how these projects could begin construction soon if more workable transmission policies are enacted.
These regional and interregional transmission lines would not only bring quality wind and solar resources to areas with high demand but also increase economic development and grid resilience as well as provide cost-savings for consumers.
“Transmission may be the purest form of ‘infrastructure’ in a modern economy. The backbone transmission network supports all types of electricity production, and electricity supports every aspect of modern life, including increasingly transportation and all forms of commerce,” says Rob Gramlich, Executive Director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. “Transmission is finally in the conversation about infrastructure and for good reason. We do not have a functioning way to recover costs of the large-scale interregional transmission that we need, and it is an appropriate subject for infrastructure legislation. These projects can put people to work in the near term.”
Currently, construction on these large projects has stalled, preventing many of the benefits of expanded transmission from being realized. In order for construction on these lines to commence, proper transmission policies relating to how long-range transmission is planned, paid for, and permitted must be passed. The report recommends the following policy changes:
- Passage of a transmission investment tax credit;
- Direct investment in new transmission lines, with the federal government serving as an “anchor tenant” customer;
- FERC using its authority to reform transmission planning and cost allocation; and
- Streamlining and expediting the permitting process.
“Just like the federal interstate highway system helped drive the growth of the American economy in the last half of the 20th Century, an interstate electricity transmission system is needed to power the American economy into the 21st Century,” says Michael Goggin, lead author and Vice President of Grid Strategies, LLC. “Over 1.2 million jobs can be created by building transmission lines to access untapped renewable resources, bringing sorely needed jobs and economic development to America’s rural areas. A stronger grid is also the best solution for preventing power outages, like the tragic events that affected Texas and other parts of the Central U.S. in February.”
“Expanding and upgrading our outdated transmission system, a central tenet of President Biden’s new American Jobs Plan, is an incredible economic opportunity for our nation,” says Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). “With smart transmission policies in place, we can put Americans back to work in good-paying jobs building a more reliable, efficient and carbon-free grid.”
To read the new report, Transmission Projects Ready to Go: Plugging into America’s Untapped Renewable Resources, click here.
This report was commissioned by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid with support from the Macro Grid Initiative, a project of the American Council on Renewable Energy.
About Macro Grid Initiative: The Macro Grid Initiative is a joint effort of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid to promote investment in a 21st century transmission infrastructure that enhances reliability, improves efficiency and delivers more low-cost clean energy. The Initiative works closely with the American Wind Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Advanced Power Alliance and the Clean Grid Alliance to advance our shared goals. To learn more, visit https://acore.org/macro-grid-initiative/. Follow the Macro Grid Initiative on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Americans for a Clean Energy Grid: Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid. For more information, please visit cleanenergygrid.org