Barbara Tyran, director of the Macro Grid Initiative at the American Council on Renewable Energy, recently wrote an article discussing the importance of transmission as part of the necessary success of the Inflation Reduction Act.
In the article, Barbara notes a new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, ’Examining Supply-Side Options to Achieve 100% Clean Electricity by 2035. “Transmission, as the report notes, is the key enabling technology for a clean electricity system because it allows higher-quality energy resources and better utilization of those resources, including reduced curtailment of wind and solar power. It helps smooth the variability of both electricity supply and demand across large regions and various timescales. In particular, large-scale regional and interregional transmission can increase reliability by expanding electricity imports and exports and enhancing coordination across wider geographies.”
Barbara stated that there is significant complexity to some of the potential planning reforms, but there is one technology clear to make better use of existing transmission corridors. That technology is advanced conductors. You gain more capacity and cost saving benefits by using advanced composite conductors for reconductoring or rebuilds of existing transmission pathways as opposed to building new, large-scale transmission. “Deploying advanced conductors to address just 25% of aging infrastructure needs in NERC regions could facilitate the interconnection of at least 27 gigawatts of zero-carbon generating capacity annually over the next 10 years, according to a recent report.”
The Inflation Reduction Act is a step in the right direction to modernize the electric power grid. As new transmission lines are necessary to keep up with demand and supply increases, it’s important to look towards advanced technologies. Transmission planning reform is necessary and must include advanced conductors to fully realize the benefits of a future grid.