NRDC, Vote Solar, a former Colorado Commissioner and others make the case for a regional transmission grid.
We have been hearing concerns that moving to a regional transmission operator to connect the Western U.S. somehow harms the prospects for greater development of distributed energy resources, especially local solar and storage, and could lead to an increase in the use of fossil fuels elsewhere in the region. A careful analysis of the facts shows these concerns are unfounded and that in fact, the opposite is true. A regional grid operator will be beneficial for renewable energy development, including distributed generation, for multiple reasons.
Replacing a highly balkanized and inefficient group of grid operators (see the WECC balancing area map below), many of which rely on outdated and highly polluting power plants, with a fully coordinated regional system operator will make better use of the existing interconnected grid, more efficiently share electricity reserves allowing for the accelerated retirement of unneeded facilities, and give more value to cleaner, renewable power sources.
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