California has a new $7.3 billion plan to fix transmission problems

California’s network operator just approved $7.3 Billion plans to build the thousands of miles of new high-voltage transmission lines the state needs to meet its climate goals.

Thursday’s unanimous vote by the California independent system operator’s board of governors (Kaiso) an important next step in a protracted battle to modernize a network that lags far behind the country’s needs. It is also the result of years of controversy over transfer policy and representation Coordinating closely with regulators, burden-serving entities, and other key stakeholders,” Elliott Mainzer, Kaiso President and CEOin an announcement on Thursday.

KaisoThe plan’s plan seeks to address a clean energy challenge that has been plaguing the entire nation, not just California: There isn’t enough transmission to connect the massive amount of new clean energy being developed to the grid. in california, Kaiso It has already had to delay processing more recent interconnection requests to deal with existing backlogs – and there is much more clean energy on demand from government regulators.

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Earlier this year, the California Public Utilities Commission set clean energy goals that will double the capacity of the state’s current resource mix by 2035 A push is needed to expand carbon-neutral energy at a pace to meet California’s goal of a carbon-neutral energy sector 2045. last month, plus their current backlog, Kaiso Receive 546 Total requests 354 gigawatts of new clean energy resources, far more than the state’s total electricity demand.

At least one organization that has been critical of California’s slow progress in transmitter development is happy with CAISO’s new plan.

We strongly support this approach Kaiso said Ed Smilov, managing director of the nonprofit Vote Solar and advisor to the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, a group that has been advocating transportation reforms for years.

While three of the largest 45 The transportation projects in the plan will be open to competitive bidding from independent developers, and most will be built by the state’s three large investor-owned utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & San Diego Electric and Gas & Electricity, with costs already being charged to customers by some of the highest electric bills in the country.

But energy experts say the costs of building these new power lines pale in comparison to the costs of not building them. This is not only because failure to combat climate change will lead to higher costs and damage from extreme weather, but also because expanded grid capacity allows ever-cheaper clean energy to flow to customers.

Get clean energy developers and transportation planning on the same map

Transmission lines can take more than a decade to site, permit and build. Kaiso Estimated eight to 10– General deadline for investments stipulated in $7.3 A billion plans – so action now is vital to achieving these goals.

So knowing how to coordinate the work of developers on site and allowing large clean energy projects and the work of regulators to decide where to send and develop, and vice versa.

On that front for the first time KaisoSmilov said the new transportation plan puts clean energy developers and transportation planning policymakers on the same page.

Under the previous planning methods, clean energy developers That would kind of offer an educated guess as to where the capacity would be” on the network, he said. Developers might also submit multiple bind requests to the same project in hopes of finding at least one place where the network could support them.

But this led to a situation where Kaiso He said that engineers are being forced to study the grid effects of far more clean energy projects than can actually be built. Meanwhile, long-term transportation planning lacked data that could show where real-world development was likely to take place.

The new process, by contrast, is used Focus on regions for transport planning, procurement coordination and interconnection reform.”

In other words, it is He first starts with the commercial interest “from clean energy developers, identifying the areas where the majority of new clean energy projects are being proposed,” he said. This, he said, is the soundest basis on which to perform the complex calculations that can indicate which set of transmission installations are most likely to enable The most cost-effective path to getting enough projects online to meet state goals.

Here’s a map from a draft from KaisoThe company’s plan was released in April which shows results.

California has revamped transportation planning to ensure that new power lines can support the projected growth of clean energy. Favorite

in December, Kaiso It signed memorandums of understanding with the California Energy Commission, which is responsible for locating and permitting clean energy projects, and the California Public Utilities Commission, which has authority over investor-owned utilities, to merge the once more separate operations to make this happen. information to influence their work.

The result, he said, is a new transmission plan that includes preliminary information on where major clean energy development is planned in areas across the state. Then feed this information to where Kaiso He plans to build a transmission to serve it, allowing a more accurate prediction of how much new energy it will allow to be delivered online, he said.

Kaiso expected to 45 Projects in the plan allow the development of more than 17 gigawatts of solar resources within the state and in neighboring Arizona and Nevada, more than 1 gigawatts of geothermal energy in California’s Imperial Valley and southern Nevada, and wind energy projects including more than 3.5 megawatts within the country and more 4.5 Megawatts coming from as far away as New Mexico and Wyoming.

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