Towering wind turbines and vast fields of solar panels are the mascots of the renewable energy transition. But decision makers, including President Joe Biden, are rapidly realizing that a successful transition hinges on energy transportation as much as generation.
“Our grids are vulnerable to storms, hacks, catastrophic failures — with tragic results, as we saw in Texas and elsewhere during the winter storms,” Biden said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress last week. He highlighted his $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, which he said “will create jobs that lay thousands of miles of transmission lines needed to build a resilient and fully clean grid.” The speech came just days after his administration announced $8.25 billion in new Energy Department loans to finance “innovative” transmission projects, including those that would transport renewable energy generated in the West or that are owned by tribal nations and Alaska Native corporations.
There’s just one hitch to this ambitious plan to expand the country’s grid: It is difficult to build electric transmission projects as quickly as necessary under current U.S. policies. A new report... Read more