The Macro Grid Initiative has been launched by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) to modernize the US’ energy transmission network.
The initiative will support expanding and upgrading the country’s transmission network to ensure more renewable energy capacity is transported from regions of higher generation across the country.
The project will promote investments in 21st century transmission infrastructure to improve grid reliability and efficiency through expanding the country’s renewables capacity delivered to consumers.
Modernising the country’s transmission network will ensure a cleaner environment, the delivery of low-cost energy to users, and is a cost-effective way to alleviate transmission congestion, according to a statement.
Benefits of expanding the nation’s transmission grid include:
- Expanding and upgrading interregional transmission lines would help electric utilities, corporate and institutional buyers, and other consumers meet carbon and clean energy goals by affordably and reliably integrating low-cost renewable resources. Enhanced transmission will also facilitate increased electrification and ensure grid reliability in the face of new patterns of electricity demand.
- Increasing transmission development at the “seams” between regions could save consumers more than $47 billion and return more than $2.50 for every dollar invested.
- A nationwide, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) network optimized for the nation’s best wind and solar resources could deliver 80% carbon emissions reduction from the grid by 2030 without adding costs to consumers’ electric bills.
The launch of the initiative comes at a time when renewables adoption is increasing in the US owing to competitive prices, greater demand from corporate and residential consumers, and ambitious state renewable energy programmes.
The Macro Grid Initiative has to date secured financial backing from Breakthrough Energy, an organization founded by Bill Gates that is working to expand clean energy investment and innovation.
The initiative aims to ensure the connection of grid regions like MISO, PJM and SPP.
Gregory Wetstone, the CEO of ACORE, said: “We need to improve America’s outdated and balkanized electricity transmission system both to compete effectively in the 21st century economy and to properly tackle the climate crisis.
“A Macro Grid will allow for better integration of low-cost renewable energy, resulting in a more resilient, efficient grid and a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions.”
Rob Gramlich, the executive director of ACEG, adds: “We believe every supporter of clean energy should be a supporter of a stronger backbone transmission grid.
“Americans for a Clean Energy Grid looks forward to working with ACORE to explain to the public and policymakers why that is the case, and to build support for its development.”
Achieving the Macro Grid vision will require new policies at the federal, regional and state levels that recognize the substantial nationwide benefits of an interregional connected transmission network.