The fight for a national clean energy transmission system emerges on three fronts

After years of studies showing a national transmission system is the most cost-effective way to meet growing clean energy and carbon reduction mandates, there is still no nation-spanning solution.

New initiatives at the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are refocusing on that goal. A modern “macrogrid” could access the nation’s diverse clean energy from coast to coast to affordably protect against extreme weather, cyber, and demand spike reliability threats, power system analysts told a March 15 Department of Energy (DOE) webinar.

By taking on hard issues like cost allocation, the FERC NOPR can make incremental progressive improvements in transmission planning, but that may not lead to a macrogrid, former FERC Chair Hoecker said. The “missing piece” is a vision of how to politically achieve the transmission that is needed and “neither the FERC nor the DOE has articulated that vision yet,” he said.

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