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WIRES, the House Grid Innovation Caucus, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) held an important briefing on the modernization of the nation’s critical network of high-voltage transmission. Designed and built well before the digital age to serve more localized customer loads, the “grid” is struggling to support active and increasingly competitive wholesale power markets that now operate regionally. It is often congested or inadequate to deliver domestic energy resources that are not close to customers. Its aging facilities have acknowledged weather and cyber vulnerabilities. Moreover, the planning and regulation of this fundamental infrastructure is complex, often uncoordinated, and slow to produce results. However, despite the combined effects of the recession and greater energy efficiency, the grid will be called upon to serve 30 percent more electrical demand over the next two decades.

Modern transmission infrastructure is the fundamental enabler of competition, new technologies, and our high standard of living. Upgrading and expanding the system is a priority. Transmission 101 provided a basic understanding of how the high-voltage system works and then moved to key issues affecting the grid: economic regulation; the regional markets that transmission supports; the importance and role of regional transmission organizations (RTO), which operate multi-state electric grids to promote efficiency and reliability; and the range of diverse economic, environmental, and operational benefits that transmission provides to the whole electric system and electricity consumers. Future briefings will address new grid technologies, policies and barriers.


2:00 pm     Introductory remarksRep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
2:30 pm   Transmission 101:  How The Grid Works – Adriann McCoy, Smart Wires Inc
3:00 pm  

The State of the Grid and the Challenges of Regional Transmission Planning

  • Clair Moeller, Midcontinent ISO
  • Mike Ross, Southwest Power Pool
  • Craig Glazer, PJM Interconnection
Moderator: James Hoecker, WIRES Counsel, former Chair, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission