It also released a study which suggests the US needs to more than double the existing regional transmission capacity by 2035 and expand existing interregional transmission capacity by more than fivefold to ensure economy-wide decarbonisation.
‘Pressing need’ for infrastructure
“There is a pressing need for additional electric transmission infrastructure in nearly all regions of the country to improve reliability and resilience, address high energy costs, and reduce congestion and constraints,” according to the National Transmission Needs Study.
Regions with historically high levels of within-region congestion — the Northwest, Mountain, Texas, and New York regions in particular — as well as regions with unscheduled flows that pose reliability risks — California, Northwest, Mountain, and Southwest regions — need “additional, strategically placed transmission deployment” to reduce this congestion.
By 2030, large deployments of interregional transfer capacity are needed between the across different regions of the US to meet the future demands of the power grid, it found. By 2040, there is “a significant need for new interregional transmission” between nearly all regions.
“To realise the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda puts us in position to do just that,” said US energy secretary Jennifer M. Granholm.
Funded by the Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Transmission Facilitation Programme (TFP) – a $2.5 billion (€2.3bn) revolving fund to help overcome the financial hurdles associated with building new, large-scale transmission lines, and upgrading existing transmission lines – the DOE is entering into capacity contract negotiations with three interregional transmission line projects. These are the 214-mile, 1.5GW Cross-Tie 500kV Transmission Line (Nevada, Utah), the 175-mile, 748MW Southline Transmission Project (Arizona, New Mexico), and the 1.2GW Twin States Clean Energy Link (New Hampshire, Vermont).
The DOE said it anticipates releasing a second round of TFP funding in the first half of 2024 through a request for proposals that may include a combination of public-private partnerships, loans, and capacity contracts, totaling up to $1 billion.