A new report from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) finds that investor-owned electric companies are making significant investments to build needed transmission infrastructure that will enhance the nation’s energy grid to meet the changing energy needs of today’s customers. The report, Transmission Projects: At A Glance, finds that EEI member companies’ total transmission investment in 2015 reached a record $20.1 billion.
“The high level of investment in our nation’s transmission infrastructure improves reliability and benefits customers by enabling electric companies to deploy new technologies, such as advanced monitoring systems, that help to make the energy grid more flexible and more resilient,” said EEI Vice President of Energy Delivery, Phil Moeller. “These investments in smarter energy infrastructure also relieve transmission congestion, facilitate wholesale market competition, and support a diverse and changing generation portfolio that includes more wind and solar power.”
The 10th annual publication of EEI’s Transmission Projects: At A Glance report highlights a cross-section of more than 150 major transmission projects that EEI member companies completed in 2015 or have planned over the next four years. These featured projects, which represent only a portion of the total transmission investment that EEI’s member companies anticipate through 2019, total approximately $41 billion.
Transmission investments are driven by a number of factors, including enhancements to reliability, replacement of aging infrastructure, grid resiliency and modernization, economic and market efficiency, and public policy requirements.
“The electric power industry is making substantial investments to modernize the energy grid and to build the transmission needed to connect new clean sources of generation and reduce system congestion,” said David Owens, EEI Executive Vice President, Business Operations Group and Regulatory Affairs. “There are many financial risks associated with transmission construction, so the permitted return on equity for transmission projects is an important factor when determining the viability of new projects. It is important that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recognize that adequate return on investment is critically important to investment in transmission projects.”