Robust and reliable transmission and distribution networks are essential to achieving the Administration's clean energy goals, including the development, integration, and delivery of new renewable and other low-carbon resources in the electricity sector, and the use of these resources to displace petroleum-based fuels in the transportation sector.
Pursuant to Title IV of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (2009), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is helping to strengthen the capabilities for long-term analysis and planning in the three interconnections serving the lower 48 United States. The analytic teams – bolstered by technical support from the DOE’s National Laboratories and leading universities – are identifying transmission requirements under a broad range of alternative electricity futures (including intensive application of demand-side technologies), and develop long-term interconnection-wide transmission expansion plans. Under the Recovery Act’s Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA0000068), DOE issued awards to five organizations that will perform this work in the Western, Eastern and Texas Interconnections.
In each interconnection, the awardees are establishing an open, transparent, and collaborative process involving participants from industry, federal and state governments, and non-governmental organizations. In each interconnection, a diversified steering committee – including at least 1/3 representation from the states – is developing consensus scenarios for future electricity supplies and analyzing environmental and other considerations that will be incorporated into transmission plans. DOE is participating actively in these analytic and planning activities. Other federal agencies and departments, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture, are interested in this initiative and will participate as they think appropriate.
As a result of these planning efforts, each of the awardees is producing long-term resource and transmission planning studies in 2011, with updated documents in 2013. The knowledge and perspective gained from this work will inform policy and regulatory decisions in the years to come and provide critical information to electricity industry planners, states and others to develop a modernized, low-carbon electricity system.
These awards are divided into two topic areas – funding for transmission planners and funding for state agencies. Awards under the first topic area funds transmission planners’ work with stakeholder organizations within an interconnection to project options for alternative electricity supplies and the associated transmission requirements. The second group of awards goes to state agencies or groups of agencies developing coordinated interconnection priorities and planning processes.
View the project website of each grantee at:
- Eastern Interconnection States' Planning Council (EISPC)
- Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC)
- Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Long Term Study
- Western Governors Association Regional Transmission Expansion Project (also see the State/Provincial Steering Committee webpage)
- Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) Regional Transmission Expansion Project (also see the Scenario Planning Steering Committee webpage)
If you have any additional questions, please contact the Department (see contact information below).
An essential component of the Interconnection-Wide Transmission Planning Initiative is funding for DOE’s national laboratories on key topics that will support the five awardees’ interconnection-wide transmission planning work. On April 1, 2010, DOE released a Funding Opportunity Announcement to receive competitive bids from the national labs with a due date of May 3, 2010.
Sandia National Laboratories - Energy and Water in the Western and Texas Interconnects
This project undertakes a comprehensive, regional analysis of the energy-water nexus to inform policy-making at local, state and federal levels. Specifically, the resulting information supplements the interconnection-wide transmission planning efforts with information on water availability, which is critical when considering electric system planning options.
June 10, 2011
The Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC) announced that its stakeholders have agreed on the final set of “resource expansion futures” to be studied as part of the electric system transmission planning effort funded by DOE.