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Green the Wires

Grid modernization must accompany increasing renewable energy generation, including the ability to incorporate intermittent renewable electricity generation.

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The lack of transmission capacity is a significant impediment to the broad expansion of renewable energy. Grid modernization must accompany increasing renewable energy generation, including the ability to incorporate intermittent renewable electricity generation. ARRA provided $4.5 billion to DOE for smart grid deployment and transmission line enhancement, and DOE just awarded $60 million for “transmission planning for the country’s three interconnection transmission networks.” This is the first step to enhancing the U.S. electricity transmission network.

What’s more, the American Clean Energy and Leadership Act S. 1462, includes an “‘interstate highway system’ for electricity by creating a new bottoms-up planning system for a national transmission grid.” The bill allows “states to take the initial lead in deciding where to build high-priority national transmission projects,” but if this process doesn’t yield siting and construction of high-priority transmission projects then the federal government can step in. This proposal should significantly hasten the planning, siting, and building of new transmission capacity. It should be included in the energy and global warming bill the Senate plans to debate this spring.

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