Renewable energy growth is being slowed by current transmission planning, ACORE study says
The report warns that because of long lead times, the window “may be closing” on transmission upgrades needed to support a range of renewable energy goals.
A study of transmission planning in the Great Plains, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic states says that current processes involving regional transmission organizations (RTOs) are impeding the development of low-cost renewable power.
The analysis was done by Concentric Energy Advisors for the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) as part of the Macro Grid Initiative in coordination with the American Clean Power Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The report said that existing transmission planning processes have been insufficient in preparing the electric grid for a future resource mix that includes large amounts of renewable energy. Because transmission construction involves long lead times, typically between seven and 10 years, the window “may be closing to develop the needed transmission expansion” to achieve a range of renewable energy goals.
ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone said in a statement that current transmission planning processes “are not working to deliver the affordable clean energy that states, businesses and consumers are demanding.”
The report identified what it said are “primary deficiencies and potential solutions” for greater renewable deployment in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), and the PJM Interconnection (PJM).
It said that the focus in SPP, MISO, and PJM has been on developing solutions to meet current reliability and economic needs. Those approaches were not designed to identify the necessary transmission expansion to enable future renewable energy development.