In a review of market conditions and transmission needs, American Transmission Co.’s (ATC) annual 10-year plan for electric grid improvements highlights the need for asset renewal projects to ensure reliability, efficiency and safety, and increased interconnection requests from resource developers.
"The combination of aging infrastructure and extreme weather can compromise the reliable, efficient operation of the existing transmission system," said Jim Vespalec, director of asset planning and engineering. "That’s why approximately 54% of the projects in our 10-year plan are dedicated to maintaining and reinforcing the system, and improving its resiliency. Our focus on asset renewal — strengthening the performance of our existing transmission facilities — helps to keep the lights on in the communities we serve."
Andy Dolan, vice president of system planning, said the rapid expansion of green sources of electric generation is being driven by a combination of consumer preference, reduced costs, and political influences.
"The generation mix is evolving from traditional fuels like nuclear, coal, and natural gas to a growing reliance on sources of green energy including wind and solar," Dolan said. "In fact, we have seen over 1500 MW of coal generation retire in our footprint since the beginning of 2018; and we are studying proposals to connect over 5800 MW of solar generation and almost 1000 MW of wind generation."
Specifically, the ATC’s 10-year plan calls for expenditures of US$1.7 billion in asset maintenance, US$0.4 billion in network projects, US$0.2 billion in regional multi-value projects, and between US$0.6 billion and US$1.3 billion in other capital expenditures.
The full plan can be viewed here.