High Voltage Electricity Lines Bring Renewable Energy to the Grid- MA, RI, Cape Cod

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Many states are trying to increase their potential for- and use of- wind power. A key problem however is the lack of high-voltage electric lines to connect the areas where turbines churn out power to the regions that need the power.

It isn’t easy to build power lines, particularly those that would have to stretch across several states. A complex — and sometimes conflicting — patchwork of federal and state rules apply.

Building transmission lines is a process, that once complete, can add renewable energy to the grid faster.

The location of power-transmission lines is increasingly important as state renewable energy targets drive investments in wind and solar power. President Obama’s ambitious renewable energy goals and his plan to tackle climate change have further raised the stakes.

The nation’s aging power grid wasn’t designed for today’s demand. For decades, the setup was relatively simple: High-voltage electric lines connected major coal, gas or nuclear plants to nearby communities that needed the power. More than 200,000 miles of transmission lines crisscross the country.

Now, as government incentives and technological advances spur investments in wind and solar energy, experts see a need for more transmission lines to link scattered turbines and solar panels to the grid — especially as the U.S. demand for energy rises again after dipping during the recession. As recently as five years ago, the country was building about 1,000 miles of transmission lines each year. That rate has more than doubled, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp., and it’s expected to reach 3,600 miles a year by 2018.

For information on transmission line construction, contact ElecComm.

Excerpts - Washington Post