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The U.S. Lags Behind in Transmission Projects

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  • Nov 30, 2020

Here’s a disturbing fact I learned this morning: Since 2014, China has built 260 gigawatts of transmission capacity that has come on line or will in the next few years. In that same time frame, the United States has added just 3 gigawatts. 

Transmission isn’t sexy, but it’s fundamental to reaching our carbon cutting goals. Inconveniently, many of this country’s areas richest in wind and sun are far from the urban centers that consume most power. We need to connect them. 

The good news is there are a lot of projects underway. But, as the same Bloomberg article makes clear, it is hard to get approval in the USA for a transmission project. In China, there’s no democratic process to slow things down. Here, on the other hand, concerned citizens and the politicians who represent them have to be won over. 

The fact that such a transmission line positive article is in Bloomberg is a good sign. However, we’ll need much more where this came from.


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 30, 2020

Transmission isn’t sexy, but it’s fundamental to reaching our carbon cutting goals.

What's frustrating is the sexy decarbonization programs still have trouble getting put into practice-- but at least the transmission ones are potentially able to garner more bipartisan support. They aren't as politicized as renewable projects in certain areas, and so they can be trumpeted for the economic and jobs wins they would bring. 

Henry Craver's picture
Henry Craver on Dec 4, 2020

Nail on the head, you have hit. 

Problem is climate/eco activists see things Manichean terms: the only way forward is something like a federal ban of fossil fuels etc. 

Henry Craver's picture
Thank Henry for the Post!
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