"DOE Touts Grid Expansion Plans As Operators Raise Concerns"

"The Department of Energy calls its new draft report on transmission a vital step in confronting barriers to long-distance power lines, but not all U.S. grid operators are sold on the outlook.

DOE’s draft “National Transmission Needs Study,” released Friday, is the department’s initial view of where and how interstate power networks need to expand by the 2030s to carry three to four times the flow of wind and solar power on the grid today.

It also looks at how to prevent congested power lines from swelling consumers’ utility bills. And DOE has outlined another reason to support high-voltage towers and lines: keeping the lights on.

By increasing power-sharing capacity between regions, new lines can help defend against extreme weather assaults that are expected to get worse in the future, the study argues.

Yet grid organizations in two major regions — Texas and the Southeast — signaled they aren’t eager for closer ties. And PJM Interconnection LLC, which manages the grid in swaths of the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, said the analysis needs to be stronger if DOE hopes to use it to implement new transmission authority under the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law."

Peter Behr and Miranda Willson report for E&E News February 27, 2023.

Source: E&E News, 03/01/2023