A new report by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) shows that investor-owned electric utilities continue to make significant investments to build needed and beneficial transmission infrastructure. The report finds that EEI members’ total transmission investment in 2012 reached $14.8 billion. It also reports that EEI members’ year-over-year transmission investment is expected to hit a new peak of approximately $17.5 billion in 2013.
“The high level of investment in our nation’s transmission infrastructure will enable electric utilities to improve reliability, relieve congestion, facilitate wholesale market competition, and support a diverse and changing generation portfolio for the benefit of electricity customers,” said Jim Fama, EEI vice president of energy delivery. “Investments to deploy new technologies, such as advanced monitoring systems, are helping to make the grid more flexible and resilient.”
The eighth annual publication of EEI’s report highlights a cross-section of more than 170 major transmission projects that EEI’s members completed in 2013 or have planned for the next 10 years. These featured projects, which represent only a portion of total transmission investment that EEI’s members anticipate through 2024, add up to approximately $60.6 billion.
The report further shows that, of the transmission projects featured, $26.2 billion (43 percent) are large, interstate transmission projects spanning multiple states; $46.1 billion (76 percent) are projects supporting the integration of renewable resources; $29.8 billion (49 percent) are projects where EEI member companies are collaborating with other utilities, including non-EEI members, to develop the project; and $45.7 billion (75 percent) are high-voltage projects of 345 kilovolts and above. Since transmission projects are developed to address an array of needs and deliver a number of benefits, a project may fall into more than one category.
“The risks and challenges to developing transmission are unlike investment in any other utility plant,” Fama said. “In order to continue to attract sufficient levels of capital for needed transmission and the adoption of advanced technologies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must continue to provide returns on investment that are commensurate with the level of risk.”