The Macro Grid Initiative, a joint effort of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, seeks to expand and upgrade the nation’s transmission network to deliver job growth and economic development, a cleaner environment, and lower costs for consumers. The 15 states between the Rockies and the Mississippi River account for 88 percent of the nation’s wind technical potential and 56 percent of solar technical potential. However, this region is home to only 30 percent of expected 2050 electricity demand.
Through a transmission Macro Grid, we can connect centers of high renewable resources with centers of high electric demand, enhance grid resiliency and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
A robust transmission grid can deliver significant job creation and other economic benefits, enhanced grid resiliency, and a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions by spurring a large amount of new renewable energy development. There are several ways to advance the nation’s electricity grid both within and across regions to deliver more clean energy:
Regional Transmission Lines. Within regions, which in many cases are multi-state areas, transmission lines would provide consumers improved access to clean energy, local economic justice benefits in communities, and enable electrification of sectors such as transportation and heating. Moreover, regional transmission expansion to offshore grids, especially along the Eastern Seaboard, would enable cost-effective interconnection of significant offshore wind.
Expanded Interregional Transmission Lines. Expanding and upgrading interregional transmission lines would help electric utilities, corporate and institutional electricity buyers, and other consumers meet carbon and clean energy goals affordably and reliably, especially from currently remote resources. These lines would also enable the clean electrification of other sectors of the economy, assisting grid operators balance the variability of wind and solar resources.
Increased Transmission Development at the “Seams” Between Regions. Additional transmission across regions could save consumers up to $47 billion annually and return more than $2.50 for every dollar invested.
A Nationwide, High-Voltage Network. High-voltage transmission, which could include AC and DC lines, optimized for the nation’s best wind and solar resources, could deliver 80 percent carbon emission reductions from the grid by 2030 without adding costs to consumers’ electricity bills
Increased transmission development at the “seams” between regions could save consumers up to $47 billion annually
America’s centers of high renewable resources and high electric demand, represented here through resource type and population size respectively, sometimes fall within different grid regions.
Stitching together the major regions of the power system, represented here conceptually, would allow the U.S. to harness its abundant renewable resources and balance electric demand across the country.
Upgrading America’s transmission system by building a Macro Grid is a cost-effective way to alleviate transmission congestion and allow the integration of new renewable energy, which is expanding rapidly due to competitive prices, corporate procurement goals and state renewable energy standards. The Macro Grid Initiative seeks to build public and policymaker support for a new policy and regulatory environment that recognizes the substantial nationwide benefits of new regional and interregional transmission. Priority areas include:
The next round of regional and interregional transmission planning
A fully planned and integrated nationwide transmission system
A new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission transmission planning rule
December 21, 2020 Update
November 9, 2020 Update
October 8, 2020 Update
August 13, 2020 Update
July 23, 2020 Update