How are we going to build all that clean energy infrastructure?
Most analyses find that to manage climate change, the United States will need to double or triple the size of its electric transmission system to move low-cost wind and solar energy around the nation and back it up with always-on power plants. But a new report from Clean Air Task Force and the Niskanen Center finds that the current piecemeal, project-by-project approach to expanding U.S. electricity transmission won’t get us there. It instead calls for a new system to rapidly scale capacity — including by potentially establishing a National Transmission Organization that would plan, site, and fund a national grid to ensure that burdens and benefits are fairly shared.
The report synthesizes the findings from independent research and a workshop composed of a diverse array of experts from academia, industry, and environmental organizations. It outlines a wide range of options for revamping U.S. transmission oversight, planning, and permitting. Additionally, it includes both a pathway with a better organized private sector presence and a pathway with greater government engagement. These possibilities sit on a spectrum, and creative hybrids are possible.