Washington, DC — A new report finds that reconductoring and rebuilding existing transmission pathways using Advanced Conductors can help lower costs for consumers and accelerate the decarbonization of the power grid.
The report, Advanced Conductors on Existing Transmission Corridors to Accelerate Low-Cost Decarbonization, was prepared by Grid Strategies LLC for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), CTC Global Corporation, Lamifil Inc North America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Taihan Electric USA Ltd., and TS Conductor Corporation.
“To accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy, we must upgrade and expand our nation’s antiquated transmission grid,” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. “Over the long term, the construction of new interregional transmission lines to form a U.S. Macro Grid will be critical to this effort. But in the near term, we must take advantage of opportunities like reconductoring to ensure we are maximizing the capacity of our existing grid infrastructure. This technology can be deployed relatively quickly, which is important in helping the U.S. stay on track to meet our climate targets. Federal and state officials, and transmission planners and owners, should take notice of the recommended actions outlined in this report to increase the utilization of high-efficiency Advanced Conductors.”
An estimated 70 percent of transmission and distribution lines are well into the second half of their 50-year life expectancy, and some lower voltage components are even over 100 years old. While new transmission construction is needed to interconnect large amounts of renewable energy and decarbonize the grid, these projects often face significant challenges and can take a decade or more to bring into service.
Outfitting the existing transmission grid with high-efficiency Advanced Conductors can rapidly create more capacity, providing substantial benefits in the form of emissions reductions, cost savings for consumers, and a more resilient grid, according to the report authors.
“The U.S. transmission network needs to meet 21st-century challenges with 21st-century solutions,” said Jay Caspary, Vice President of Grid Strategies LLC and a co-author of the report. “We have the technology we need to simultaneously expand the capacity of the existing grid while repairing thousands of miles of aging transmission infrastructure. As this report demonstrates, the adoption of Advanced Conductors is a fast, cost-effective way to accelerate the decarbonization of the power sector. It is time to modernize our outdated transmission planning practices to fully leverage the benefits of this under-utilized technology.”
The report also makes recommendations that the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could adopt in their upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on transmission planning, cost allocation, and interconnection queue reform, as well as recommendations for transmission planners and owners, public utility commissioners and legislators, and the U.S. Department of Energy.