Washington, D.C., May 27, 2011 — In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, WIRES expressed concern that the recently-issued Strategic Plan of the U.S. Department of Energy, in stating its goals for "modernizing" the electric grid, altogether ignores the need to upgrade and expand America's high-voltage electric transmission system.
WIRES' letter to Secretary Chu indicates that the electric transmission industry and capital markets are prepared to marshal resources and expertise in pursuit of a stronger grid. It points out, however, that there remain serious barriers to planning and constructing the most efficient transmission system for the nation's 21st Century requirements.
Leadership from the Department of Energy "is critical to advancing a national policy that favors responsible expansion of the transmission grid," stated WIRES President Jolly Hayden on behalf of the organization.
In encouraging the DOE to champion improvements in the planning and regulation of transmission projects, the letter cited two recent studies sponsored by WIRES that illustrate the benefits of transmission — a study released this month by WIRES showing that transmission initiatives could yield $30-$40 billion in annual economic activity that supports 150,000-200,000 new full-time jobs in each of the next 20 years, and another study released in January describing the use of smart technologies, including synchrophasors, to improve performance of the transmission grid.
WIRES (Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems) is a non-profit trade association of transmission providers, customers, and equipment and service companies formed to promote investment in electric transmission and progressive state and federal policies that advance energy markets, economic efficiency, and consumer and environmental benefits through development of electric power infrastructure.