Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Transmission Upgrades & Expansion Are Necessary to Meet Increasing Demand for Wind & Solar

Transmission Line (Photo Credit: Wind Energy Foundation) Click to Enlarge.
A newly released report from the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF) calls upon transmission planners to take into account the significant renewable energy demand of large non-utility customers, especially from Fortune 500 companies.  That’s because big companies are increasingly signing deals to buy wind and solar power, and their large and growing demand for transmission upgrades may exceed existing plans.

According to the WEF report, Transmission Upgrades and Expansion:  Keys to Meeting Large Customer Demand for Renewable Energy, a coalition of more than 100 corporate entities set a goal of purchasing 60 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by the year 2025, equal to 110 conventional power plants and enough electricity to power nearly 50 million homes.  The report estimates that, considering the 9 GW of renewable energy already procured by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) since 2013, there are at least 51 GW remaining in this goal.

The report questions whether current transmission plans can accommodate the increase in demand.

Investment in transmission infrastructure is essential, the report’s authors say, to support not only significant additions of renewable generation to meet corporate and other demand but also to support the longer-term electrification of transport, heating, and cooling.  Four key findings emerged in the Wind Energy Foundation report:
  1. Renewable energy commitments from large corporations are growing rapidly and will lead to significant renewable energy procurement through 2025.
  2. Most of the best renewable energy resources are in a 15-state mid-America region, while load growth is highest outside that region.
  3. Expanded and upgraded transmission is needed to unlock new low-cost renewable energy for corporate and other consumers.
  4. Transmission planners should account for corporate demand to procure renewable energy.
Read more at Transmission Upgrades & Expansion Are Necessary to Meet Increasing Demand for Wind & Solar

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