ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Enormous Value In New Transmission
How new transmission can unlock 10 times more renewables for the Eastern U.S.; The Eastern Interconnect can handle 30% renewables within a decade, but hotly-contested power line construction will be key
Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 27, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The current administration’s effort to fund a national infrastructure build could help meet the need for new transmission but this White House’s incompetence makes it unlikely the dream of a big build will be realized.
The Eastern Interconnection (EI), the world’s biggest power system, could handle 30% renewables within ten years, but only with serious upgrades. The EI delivers electricity to 270 million customers. By 2026, system operators will be able to maintain power reliability with more than ten times the current amount of wind and solar on the system today, according to the Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study (ERGIS). That forecast takes into account only existing technologies, but can increase today’s estimated 35 GW to 40 GW of wind and solar resources if there are adequate new wires.
‘The resource is not the issue. It is the delivery system that is the issue,’ said Wind on the Wires (WOW) Executive Director Beth Soholt, who has spent over 15 years working for new transmission throughout the Midwest. Veteran transmission authority Roger Rosenqvist, now a vice president at ABB, agrees the lack of new wires is a real barrier. Inter-regional AC and HVDC transmission is now in development across the country. Two pieces of big news have come recently from independent, or merchant, transmission developers now working on new HVDC lines to market to power producers and load serving entities (LSEs). First, Pattern Development has decided to bring its 2,000 MW, 500 kV, HVDC Southern Cross project into the market. The other big news is that the Plains & Eastern (P&E) Clean Line, a $2 billion, 705-mile, 4,000 MW HVDC transmission system being developed by Clean Line Energy Partners (CLEP), is moving toward construction. It aims to deliver Oklahoma wind to the Southeast U.S… click here for more