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Getting transmission right

Getting transmission right

As Congress moves closer to passing transmission legislation to facilitate a green power superhighway, critics are coming out of the woodwork. We'll try to answer them here on this blog.

A New York Times op-ed recently argued against building a new, high capacity transmission system–the green power superhighway–on the grounds that it is too expensive and that local energy is available.

Focusing on the cost of building electricity transmission misses the point–that cost accounts for less than 6% of the average consumer’s electric bill. The writer ignores the potential for this transmission to significantly reduce the other 94% of a consumer’s electric bill.

A number of recent studies, including one conducted by the grid operators in the Eastern U.S. and one by the grid operator in Texas, have found that transmission investments to access renewable resources quickly pay for themselves by reducing congestion on the grid, improving grid efficiency and providing consumers with access to cheaper power.

New England has good renewables, including offshore wind, but we’ll still need more for our national renewable energy and climate goals. And by building a national high-capacity transmission system, utilities will be able to deliver the lowest-cost, clean electricity to their customers. That's what we really mean by a smart energy policy.

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