Electricity is the lifeblood of the modern U.S. economy. The ability to get electricity from where it’s generated to where it keeps the lights on is essential to virtually everything Americans do on a daily basis. Yet, our electricity grid is aging and needs sustained attention and private investment in order to provide reliable, affordable services to consumers.

Just as other sectors of our national infrastructure have evolved to more cheaply and efficiently transport goods and services, so too must our national electric infrastructure be revitalized to support our increasingly plugged in economy, reduce blackouts, enhance reliability, reduce congestion, and save Americans money. Updating America’s electricity grid to meet 21st century needs will keep the lifeblood of our economy flowing.

See our transmission fact sheet for more information.

Transmission provides dozens of quantifiable economic and reliability benefits for U.S. families and businesses. For example, transmission:

  • Helps consumers access lower-cost electricity;
  • Reduces the need to build additional electricity generation to hold in reserve;
  • Facilitates robust electricity markets;
  • Provides economic development and jobs;
  • And helps generators and utilities comply with public policy requirements

Besides creating these benefits, evidence shows transmission upgrades more than pay for themselves in the long run because of increased reliability and economic benefits. For example, the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO), the entity that manages the grid across parts of 15 states, found transmission upgrades created benefits 2.6 to 3.9 greater than their cost, equaling between $275 and $1,000 for each person MISO serves. Likewise, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which manages the grid in parts of 14 states, found transmission upgrades would saves $2,400 per customer.

This video gives an example of America’s grid operators keep the lights on while explaining why transmission is an important, sound investment:

When congestion occurs on the transmission system, wind generators are sometimes curtailed, which means that dirtier, more expensive generation is dispatched to meet customers’ load. With a robust transmission grid, regional grid operators are able to cost-efficiently and reliably balance variable resources across diverse geographic areas.

AWEA’s focuses on aspects of transmission including:

  • Planning
  • Cost allocation
  • Grid operations/integration of renewable energy/reliability
  • Siting of power lines
  • Generator interconnection

How to improve transmission

Effective transmission expansion begins with robust planning and equitable cost allocation. AWEA engages with federal and state regulators and regional transmission operators (RTOs) to provide advice on how transmission is planned and paid for. While transmission expansion helps more wind power come online, it also brings a wide variety of benefits to consumers, including lower costs and increased reliability. AWEA focuses on pro-transmission policies and advocacy that recognize the many benefits that transmission provides to consumers and the grid.

AWEA’s transmission vision is of an increasingly connected, national grid with fewer regional seams and increased access to distant markets. AWEA represents the wind industry’s vision in diverse forums including state and federal energy regulators, grid operators and planners, transmission developers, utilities, and more.