Key Transmission Insights from the U.S. DOE Budget Hearing for 2025

The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources convened on April 16, 2024, to scrutinize the President’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy for Fiscal Year 2025. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of ENR, and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of ENR, delivered opening remarks, with The Honorable Jennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of the Department of Energy, serving as a witness.

During the hearing, Senator Padilla expressed concerns about extreme weather causing power outages and queried the Secretary about the budget’s support for grid enhancement. Granholm outlined the budget’s focus on upgrading and expanding the grid, emphasizing the importance of microgrids for local resilience.

Senator Cantwell inquired about prioritizing transmission from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and ensuring a smooth transition. Granholm emphasized the need to boost transmission capacity through grid-enhancing technology and diverse strategies.

Senator King highlighted the rising cost of transmission compared to generation and advocated for incentivizing grid-enhancing technologies before building new transmission lines. Granholm echoed the importance of these technologies, including reconductoring with Advanced Conductors citing their cost-effectiveness compared to traditional buildout.

Senator Hirono emphasized the urgency of grid upgrades to address wildfire risks and restore power. While the Infrastructure Law allocated funds for grid resilience, Granholm acknowledged the funding shortfall and outlined DOE’s focus on cost-effective solutions, particularly for vulnerable communities.

Senator Cassidy raised concerns about energy regulations and the importance of grid infrastructure for meeting energy demands across regions. Granholm stressed the need for wise investment in the national grid to mitigate cost burdens on ratepayers.

Overall, the hearing underscored the critical role of transmission infrastructure in enhancing grid resilience and meeting evolving energy needs, with a focus on cost-effective solutions and equitable access to reliable power.

The Archived Webcast can be found HERE

This article first appeared on Energy Central

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