The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced an investment of $1.3 billion into three electrical transmission lines crossing six states.

This funding intends to advance projects aimed at adding 3.5 gigawatts of additional grid capacity throughout the US, equivalent to powering approximately 3 million homes.

To ensure that transmission buildout is done efficiently, DOE have also released the National Transmission Needs Study to provide insight into where the grid would benefit the most from increased transmission.

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm, said:

“To realize the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity.

“This effort to strengthen the nation’s transmission will drive down costs for American families and deliver thousands of good paying jobs for American workers.”

The Needs Study estimates that by 2035 more than double the existing regional transmission capacity and an expansion of existing interregional transmission capacity by more than fivefold is needed in the journey to decarbonisation.

Key findings of the Needs Study include a pressing need for additional electric transmission infrastructure in nearly all regions of the country to address high energy costs. It was also found that an increasing interregional transmission is needed to move electricity from where it is available to where it is needed.

Needs will shift over time as the clean energy transition, evolving regional demand, and increasingly extreme weather events must all be accommodated by the future power grid.

DOE have announced that it is entering into capacity contract negotiations with three interregional transmission line projects that will strengthen grid resilience and reliability, enable the addition of more clean energy resources to the grid, and bring diverse, clean energy to more customers.

The selected projects are:

  • Cross-Tie 500kV Transmission Line (Nevada, Utah) –  a proposed 214-mile,1500 MW transmission line connecting existing transmission systems in Utah and Nevada to increase transmission capacity, improve grid reliability, relieve congestion on other key transmission lines, and expand access to low-cost renewable energy across the region.
  • Southline Transmission Project (Arizona, New Mexico) – a proposed 175-mile, 748 MW transmission line from Hidalgo County, New Mexico to Pima County, Arizona that will help unlock renewable energy development in southern New Mexico and deliver clean energy to growing markets in Arizona that currently rely on fossil fuel generation.
  • Twin States Clean Energy Link (New Hampshire, Vermont) – a proposed 1,200 MW high-voltage direct current (HVDC) bidirectional line that will expand the capacity of the New England electric grid and improve its resiliency, reliability, and efficiency by providing access to clean firm energy supplies in Quebec, Canada.

Read full announcement from the DOE here.

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