Utilities investing unprecedented amounts in transmission infrastructure

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Investor-owned electric utility companies are continuing to make significant investments to build needed transmission infrastructure, updating the nation’s transmission network to meet 21st Century needs and demands, according to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). In 2012, EEI members’ total transmission investment reached $14.8 billion and EEI expects year-over-year transmission investment to hit a new peak in 2013 of approximately $17.5 billion.

“The high level of investment in our nation’s transmission infrastructure will enable electric utilities to improve reliability, relieve congestion, facilitate wholesale market competition, and support a diverse and changing generation portfolio for the benefit of electricity customers,” said Jim Fama, EEI vice president of Energy Delivery. “Investments to deploy new technologies, such as advanced monitoring systems, are helping to make the grid more flexible and resilient.”

The EEI report features a cross-section of more than 170 major transmission projects that EEI members completed in 2013, or have planned for the next 10 years, and represent only a portion of total transmission investment anticipated through 2024 (approximately $60.6 billion).

Of the transmission projects featured, $26.2 billion (43 percent) are large, interstate transmission projects spanning multiple states; $46.1 billion (76 percent) are projects supporting the integration of renewable resources; $29.8 billion (49 percent) are projects where EEI member companies are collaborating with other utilities, including non-EEI members, to develop the project; and $45.7 billion (75 percent) are high-voltage projects of 345 kV or more.

“The risks and challenges to developing transmission are unlike investment in any other utility plant. In order to continue to attract sufficient levels of capital for needed transmission and the adoption of advanced technologies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must continue to provide returns on investment that are commensurate with the level of risk,” Fama said.

For more:
– see this report

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