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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced $1.3bn in funding for three transmission lines, spanning six states and bringing 3.5 GW of additional capacity to the country’s grid. Elsewhere, National Grid has unveiled plans to accelerate up to 20 GW of grid connections in the UK.
The US Transmission Facilitation Programme is a $2.5bn revolving fund to help overcome the financial hurdles associated with building new, large-scale transmission lines. It will add 3.5 GW of additional grid capacity throughout the US, equivalent to powering approximately 3 million homes, and creating more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Under the programme, the DoE is authorised to borrow up to $2.5bn to purchase a percentage of the total proposed capacity of the eligible transmission line. By offering capacity contracts, the DoE aims to increase the confidence of additional investors, encourage additional customers to purchase transmission line capacity and reduce the overall risk for project developers.
The DoE also released the final National Transmission Needs Study, which details where the US grid – and communities – would benefit from increased transmission.
The study estimates that by 2035 the US must more than double the existing regional transmission capacity and expand existing inter-regional transmission capacity by more than fivefold to achieve President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.
The first projects supported under the Transmission Facilitation Programme include:
- Cross-Tie 500kV Transmission Line – a proposed 214-mile, 1,500 MW transmission line connecting existing transmission systems in Utah and Nevada to increase capacity, improve grid reliability and expand access to low-cost renewable energy across the region.
- Southline Transmission Project – a 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 – a 1,200 MW high-voltage direct current bidirectional line that will expand the capacity of the New England electricity grid by providing access to clean firm energy supplies in Quebec, Canada.
National Grid to accelerate UK grid connections
Meanwhile, in other power news, the UK’s National Grid has unveiled plans to accelerate the connection of 10 GW of battery projects to its electricity transmission network, with a further 10 GW of capacity unlocked at a distribution level England and Wales as part of the Electricity System Operator (ESO)’s connections five-point plan.
Battery energy storage projects connecting to the transmission network are to be offered new connection dates averaging four years earlier than their current agreement, while the connection of some ‘shovel ready’ low-carbon distribution schemes are expected to be brought forward by up to five years under the new plans.
The accelerated 20 GW equates to the capacity of six Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations.
The work is part of ongoing collaborative industry efforts, together with Ofgem and government, to speed up and reform connections.
Responding to the news, Julian Leslie, ESO Head of Networks and Chief Engineer, commented: ‘We’re pleased to see the tangible delivery against one of the key points of our five-point plan to speed up connections to the transmission grid for battery and storage projects. We’re evolving our network and taking the lead on speeding up connections to make our power system fit for the future, to deliver net zero and keep clean power flowing to the growing number of homes and business across Great Britain, fuelling our economy.’