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The DOE has a PLAN! : Transmission Interconnection Roadmap

Started by RE, Apr 17, 2024, 11:51 PM

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103 Page pdf for your reading pleasure.

Transmission Interconnection Roadmap
Transforming Bulk Transmission Interconnection by 2035

Needless to say, I haven't yet read this document in detail.  However, on page 2, a crucial paragraph comes right away.

"In 2010, there was less than 500 GW of capacity waiting in the interconnection queues across the country. Today, that number has quadrupled to 2,600 GW, more than 95% of which is for zero-carbon electric generation and storage capacity (see Figure 1).11 This amount is larger than the installed capacity of all power plants currently operating in the United States. Correspondingly, the time to interconnect has more than doubled across the United States.12 This roadmap should be used to establish a key set of priorities over the coming years for stakeholder collaboration on the interconnection process that will ensure the electric system evolves to handle these significantly larger quantities of resource development."

So, in theory, in slightly over a decade, this plan should connect up 2.6 terawatts of power to the grid, more than doubling it's current capacity.  That's not including more power generating facilities still on the drawing board that may be built in the interim.  Since due to current projections with the added loads of AI and Data Centers, along with EVs and home heating and cooling that is transitioning to electrification.  With all that stuff, 3X or 4X more electricity is projected to be needed and it's all supposed to be carbon free by 2035.

Calling this a lofty goal is of course the understatement of the century.  They do mention price goals and targets, but so far in scanning through it I haven't found a spreadsheet that gives some indication of what the aggregate cost of this project will be, or how it will be financed. That is pretty critical information in determining how realistic this plan is.

Also on scanning the document I don't see any estimates on the resources necessary to make all these connections, how much copper & aluminum for wires, steel for towers transformer substations yada yada yada.  How much manpower for the building?  How many lineman for the country?

Overall it appears to be a political document mainly, something bureaucrats can hold up at meetings in front of various local, state and national committees and tell politicians "here's what we need to do, now give us tons of taxpayer money so we can accomplish these goals."  However, it's currently all so open ended how much will they ask for and how will these various counties and munis raise the money for it?  They're going to need to get voters to approve bond issues and they ofcourse will have the NIMBY issues.  Then assuming they get the money some sort of competitive bidding by contractors.  They wanna speed all this stuff up of course, but how will they do it?

Still, a plan is more than they had yesterday.