The Benefit and Urgency of Planned Offshore Transmission: Reducing the Costs of and Barriers to Achieving U.S. Clean Energy Goals
There is an urgent need to plan the transmission grid necessary for achieving America’s increasingly ambitious offshore wind (OSW) and clean energy goals. Proactive and holistic planning for long-term transmission needs offers significant benefits, but unless these planning efforts are started now, more attractive near-term transmission solutions will not be identified and the most effective long-term grid development pathways may be foreclosed.
While the most ambitious state and federal clean energy goals will not have to be attained until 2040 or 2050, we project that starting proactive planning for these long-term offshore wind generation needs now likely will save U.S. consumers at least $20 billion and reduce environmental and community impacts by 50%. Doing so will also support the timely achievement of policy goals, increase reliability, lower development and investment risks, increase energy independence, and improve climate resilience.
To achieve these benefits, state and federal policymakers, industry regulators, system operators, and market participants must expeditiously address several well-documented challenges. As shown in this analysis, even modest delays in developing and implementing actionable plans for both near- and long-term transmission investments substantially reduces the benefits of such planning efforts.
The report was prepared by The Brattle Group with contributions from DNV and input from an advisory panel of policy and industry experts. American Clean Power Association (ACP), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Clean Air Task Force (CATF), GridLab, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) commissioned the analysis.