Renewables

Report: Utilities Are Making Significant Investments in Transmission Infrastructure

Investor-owned electric utilities in the U.S. spent $16.9 billion in 2013 to build transmission infrastructure, a report recently released by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) shows.

The ninth annual publication of the EEI’s Transmission Projects: At a Glance  highlights a cross-section of more than 170 major transmission projects completed in 2014 or planned over the next decade.

The report suggests that about 40% of investments planned are for large, interstate transmission projects while 46% are for projects that support the integration of renewable resources. About 26% is for projects where EEI member companies are collaborating with other utilities and 66% is for high-voltage projects of 345 kV and above.

The EEI says that since publication of the first report in 2007, the risks associated with transmission development have not diminished.

“Transmission planning is even more complex than it has been in the past when utilities planned for reliability based on load growth, local generation and load interconnections,” it said. “Now transmission planners must not only plan for reliability, but also to relieve market congestion, accommodate ever changing public policy needs and deal with the uncertainty inherent in those needs.”

The industry group also said that continued investment in transmission infrastructure will be required to “maintain reliability, enhance grid security, support shifts in the nation’s generation portfolio, offer greater flexibility in transmission operations with the increase in distributed generation, and meet public policy requirements.”

 

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)

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