Has transmission's time finally come?
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- Jul 21, 2020 8:45 pm GMT
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In the poem "Locksley Hall," Alfred, Lord Tennyson, wrote: "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love."
During the novel coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people's fancies appear to be lightly turning to thoughts of electrical transmission infrastructure.
On June 9, the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and consulting firm GridLab put out a report showing how the U.S. could get to a 90 percent carbon-free grid by 2035 with transmission grid upgrades that wouldn't cost a lot of money or cause a lot of siting battles. A related report issued the same day by energy and environmental policy firm Energy Innovation: Policy Technology detailed the changes needed to make such a grid possible.
On June 17, the American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid launched the Macro Grid Initiative, which will undertake wide-ranging educational efforts to support expanding the transmission grid to connect areas where renewable power can be produced at low costs to population centers.
And a little less than two weeks later, the House Democrats called for a "supergrid" and made many other suggestions for revamping the nation's transmission infrastructure in their plan to combat climate change.
As Sammy Roth pointed out the following day in a great Los Angeles Times article, advocates for building transmission infrastructure say doing so will provide jobs during its construction and renewable energy for decades afterwards. And while climate change-skeptical Republicans are less than enamored with renewable power, Neil Chatterjee, a former advisor to coal-lovin' Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell who now leads the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says they have few reservations about transmission infrastructure.
In his article, Roth looks at why transmission infrastructure hasn't been built, what has changed that could enable it to get built now, and why some environmentalists, including clean-energy proponents, are against it.
He also explains why the desert tortoise is in a tough position, whether transmission lines get built across its habitat or not.