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Getting climate, energy & environment news right.

The U.S. Urgently Needs a Bigger Grid. Here’s a Fast Solution.

Brad Plumer of The New York Times reports on a solution to the U.S. grid challenge.

The C3 Take
  • Replacing existing power lines with advanced cables could roughly double the grid’s capacity in many parts of the U.S., allowing for much more wind and solar power, but U.S. utilities have been slow to embrace this “advanced reconductoring” technique compared to other countries.
  • Researchers found that nationwide deployment of advanced conductors could quadruple projected transmission capacity growth by 2035, but significant barriers remain, including fragmented electricity governance, misaligned utility incentives, and a risk-averse industry mindset.
  • Some states are starting to provide incentives and policy support for advanced reconductoring as utilities face growing urgency to upgrade the grid to meet rising electricity demand from new sources like data centers, factories, and electric vehicles.

“In many places, upgrading power lines with advanced conductors could nearly double the capacity of existing transmission corridors at less than half the cost of building new lines, researchers found. If utilities began deploying advanced conductors on a nationwide scale — replacing thousands of miles of wires — they could add four times as much transmission capacity by 2035 as they are currently on pace to do.”

Read more here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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