US officials plan to invest $1.3 billion in three proposed power transmission lines as extreme weather and the switch to renewable energy strain an electricity grid that will need to double in size to meet President Joe Biden’s green goals.
Transmission has emerged as a major obstacle to Biden’s climate plans, which call for more solar and wind generation than the current grid can support. The current system’s reliability has also come under increasing stress from heat waves and intense storms as the climate warms. But new transmission lines often face fierce opposition from nearby communities.
The three projects span six states and will enable 3.5 gigawatts of electricity to be added to the grid, enough for 3 million homes, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told reporters in a briefing Friday. Construction will also support about 13,500 direct and indirect jobs, she said.
The Cross-Tie Transmission Line will connect Nevada and Utah, while the Southline Transmission Project will run from Arizona to New Mexico. The Twin States Clean Energy Link will tie New Hampshire and Vermont to Canada. The federal funding, designed to help the projects line up private financing rather than cover all costs, will come from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Earlier in the month, Granholm announced $3.5 billion in funding for a separate slate of projects to strengthen the grid and bring more renewable power online. The Infrastructure Law devotes a total of about $20 billion to grid improvements.
“All these grid projects are a game-changer, not only for our power system and national security, but also for working people,” Granholm said Friday.
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