CLAIM: America doesn’t need improvements to our electric grid; we have one that works just fine and new transmission drives up electrical bills. We are also “overbuilding” to help renewables that aren’t even in service yet.
The current grid is outdated and new transmission will increase efficiency, open access to cheaper renewable energy and ultimately save consumers money.
- About 70 percent of power lines and transformers are more than 25 years old, and 60 percent of circuit breakers are more than 30 years old. (Source: American Society of Civil Engineers, http://bit.ly/K7sOjR)
- The increasing load on the grid is resulting in greater losses and wasted energy. In the last 30 years we have seen losses on the transmission and distribution systems double. (Source: ITC Holdings, http://bit.ly/WaAc5a)
- Bloomberg says the new FERC rules for transmission will “turbocharge the biggest transformation of the U.S. electricity market in decades, with far-reaching consequences for the economy, consumers, utilities and investors.” (Source: Bloomberg View, http://bloom.bg/UJjRU9)
- In October 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) started enforcing a new set of rules called Order Number 1000. This plan will “encourage a more coordinated build-out of the new electric transmission lines the country needs to maintain electric reliability.” (Source: Vermont Law School, http://bit.ly/UydKBa)
- According to a Bloomberg Government analysis, more than $104 billion worth of new transmission capability will be built by 2022, generating about $6 billion in profit for power-line developers. (Source: Bloomberg View, http://bloom.bg/UJjRU9)
- New transmission is being built with the customer in mind. Richard Caperton, Director of Clean Energy Investment at the non-profit Center for American Progress writes, “FERC’s rule  protect[s] customers in two ways: from “free riders” who receive benefits without paying for them and from paying for transmission from which they receive no benefits.” (Source: Center for American Progress, http://bit.ly/SnTYnr)
- In 2011, transmission only accounted for 11% of the average cost of electricity in the U.S. (Source: Energy Information Administration, http://1.usa.gov/GzWPFy)
- A study from the World Bank calls transmission connections that link renewable energy projects to the grid “critical aspects to a successful renewable energy project from a developer’s perspective.” (Source: The World Bank, http://bit.ly/JfrcWh)
- A recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study concluded, “In many cases, more cost-effective, higher-quality renewable resources are located far from major load centers. Expansion of the electrical transmission system is needed to access and deliver location-constrained renewable resources.” (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, http://1.usa.gov/LgXIEb)
- Investing in transmission infrastructure helps states leverage new renewable energy development. New York is planning up to $35 million worth of strategic transmission upgrades to remove a potential impediment to additional renewable energy development in Northern New York. (Source: New York Energy Highway Taskforce, http://bit.ly/UthVOH)
- New transmission opens up access to cheaper markets. In the Midwest in particular, to relieve the bottlenecks and capture the economic and environmental benefits of more electricity from wind, investments need to be made in the region’s transmission system. (Source: Energy Future Coalition, http://bit.ly/ShogIb)
- One project, the 800-mile Plains & Eastern Clean Line, will have the capacity to connect approximately 7,000 MW of wind energy generation from western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other nearby markets. (Source: Advanced Energy Economy, http://bit.ly/TtdEZW)