Transmission finally gets its due
- Aug 3, 2021 2:06 pm GMT
Zipping through my favorite publications this morning, I came across something strange. The Atlantic, one of this country’s most revered magazines, is running a story on transmission. Members of Energy Central probably won’t find any new information in the piece, but I still suggest taking a look—it’s not often transmission lines get this kind of attention.
I’m hoping the Atlantic write-up is indicative of growing public support for transmission infrastructure modernization. For as long as I remember, the only noise on the issue has come from NIMBYs and eco purisits opposed to new projects. Now, it seems, normal people are starting to realize that transmission, ugly as it may be, is a necessary part of any climate-change fighting energy scheme.
Public support doesn’t always translate into legislative progress, but there’s reason to be optimistic on that front too. The big $579 billion infrastructure plan stipulates $73 billion for power infrastructure. The fact sheet released by the White House also mentions the creation of a Grid Authority to oversee power projects. Maybe such an agency would prove an effective advocate for regulation reform.
It seems the U.S. is moving in the right direction, but there’s a lot of catching up to do. As the Atlantic article points out: “Since 2009, China has built more than 18,000 miles of ultrahigh-voltage transmission lines. The U.S. has built zero.”
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