The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) - which President Obama signed into law on February 17th, 2009 - provided DOE with $4.5 billion to modernize the electric power grid. With robust and reliable transmission and distribution networks being essential to a modernized electric grid, one area of activity that received funding was interconnection planning. Under Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA0000068), DOE issued six awards to help strengthen the capabilities for long-term analysis and planning in the three interconnections serving the lower 48 United States. The analytic teams – bolstered by technical support from the DOE’s National Laboratories and leading universities – identified transmission requirements under a broad range of alternative electricity futures and developed long-term interconnection-wide transmission expansion plans. In each interconnection, the awardees established an open, transparent, and collaborative process involving participants from industry, federal and state governments, and non-governmental organizations. In each interconnection, a diversified steering committee – including at least 1/3 representation from the states – developed consensus scenarios for future electricity supplies and analyzing environmental and other considerations that were incorporated into transmission plans. Each of the awardees produced long-term resource and transmission planning studies. The knowledge and perspective gained from this work will inform policy and regulatory decisions in the years to come and provide critical information to electricity industry planners, states and others to develop a modernized electricity system.
The awards were divided into two topic areas – funding for transmission planners and funding for state agencies. Awards under the first topic area funded transmission planners’ work with stakeholder organizations within an interconnection to project options for alternative electricity supplies and the associated transmission requirements. The second group of awards went to state agencies or groups of agencies developing coordinated interconnection priorities and planning processes.
View the project website of each grantee at:
- Eastern Interconnection States' Planning Council (EISPC)
- Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC)
- Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Long Term Study
- Western Governors Association Regional Transmission Expansion Project (also see the State/Provincial Steering Committee webpage)
- Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) Regional Transmission Expansion Project (also see the Scenario Planning Steering Committee webpage)
An essential component of the Interconnection-Wide Transmission Planning Initiative was funding for DOE’s national laboratories on key topics that supported the awardees’ interconnection-wide transmission planning work. On April 1, 2010, DOE released a Funding Opportunity Announcement to receive competitive bids from the national labs with a due date of May 3, 2010.
Sandia National Laboratories - Energy and Water in the Western and Texas Interconnects
This project undertakes a comprehensive, regional analysis of the energy-water nexus to inform policy-making at local, state and federal levels. Specifically, the resulting information supplements the interconnection-wide transmission planning efforts with information on water availability, which is critical when considering electric system planning options.
June 10, 2011
The Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC) announced that its stakeholders have agreed on the final set of “resource expansion futures” to be studied as part of the electric system transmission planning effort funded by DOE.
December 18, 2009
Secretary Chu Announces Efforts to Strengthen U.S. Electric Transmission Networks
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