A successful transmission network requires deliberate planning, and a new and different approach. One that identifies long-term, flexible, and interregional solutions that will meet national interests. Modernizing transmission planning can provide greater certainty to drive investment to the highest-need transmission projects and enable development of the projects with the largest long-term benefit for consumers. 

National Transmission Planning Study 

The National Transmission Planning Study will identify transmission for providing broad-scale benefits to electric customers; inform regional and interregional transmission planning processes; and identify interregional and national strategies to accelerate decarbonization while maintaining system reliability. 

Transmission Needs Study 

Released on October 30, 2023, the National Transmission Needs Study serves as DOE's triennial state of the grid report and is a robust assessment of current and near-term future transmission needs through 2040. The Needs Study is not intended to displace existing transmission planning processes and is not intended to identify specific transmission solutions to address identified needs, but it does identify key national needs that can inform investments and planning decisions. Where previous National Transmission Congestion Studies were limited to consider only historic congestion, this study considers both historic and anticipated future transmission needs driven by the increase in renewables, and transportation and building electrification.

Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study 

To inform the integration of offshore wind (OSW), DOE will conduct supportive analyses to identify transmission pathways and develop transmission strategies to integrate OSW, consistent with the Administration's goal of 30 gigawatts of OSW by 2030 and to set the stage for a more ambitious 2050 OSW deployment target. In November 2021, DOE launched the Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Study, a two-year study led by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Through robust engagement with diversified stakeholder groups, this work evaluates coordinated transmission solutions to enable OSW energy deployment along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, addressing gaps in existing analyses. 

West Coast Offshore Wind Transmission Study

On February 22, 2023, the Grid Deployment Office and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office announced the kick-off of the West Coast Offshore Wind Transmission Study. This 20-month study will detail transmission options to support offshore wind development in the Pacific Ocean along the U.S. West Coast and will be a part of a longer-term effort to include convenings with state policymakers, local leaders, and private industry, and eventually a report outlining key recommendations and an action plan for OSW transmission development on the West Coast.