A New Model for Investing in Transmission
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- Jan 27, 2020 5:28 pm GMTJan 26, 2020 11:35 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2020-01 - Predictions & Trends, click here for more
Utilities are facing pressures to meet growing renewable energy demand, largely driven by state clean energy mandates – while also facing the usual pressures to keep energy costs low for consumers. A recent study by the WIRES trade group and the ScottMadden Inc. consulting firm found that insufficient transmission capacity is the primary challenge for utilities in the race to renewables. Specifically, the report finds a huge mismatch in where renewable supply is versus where it’s going to be needed to meet the mandates. Transmission can close this gap but our grid is already experiencing transmission bottlenecks, which cost ratepayers over $5 billion in 2018. It is clear that the only way to reach RPS targets is with a major increase in transmission capacity. Historically, there has been only one method for building transmission – through complex engineering and line construction and upgrades, which can take up to 10 years. 2020 will be different. This year, a new model for building transmission is emerging that leverages sensors and analytics to unlock additional capacity on existing lines.