EEI > Issues & Policy > Transmission
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Transmission
The electric transmission network is the backbone of the nation’s energy grid and consists of more than 600,000 circuit miles of lines, 240,000 of which are considered high-voltage lines (230 Kilovolts and greater). These lines link the generators of electricity to the distributors, transporting electricity to local electric companies, which in turn deliver it to customers.

The transmission network provides a range of benefits that ultimately accrue to customers in the form of reliable service and a reduction in costs, by:  improving power flow and relieving congestion, facilitating robust wholesale market competition, enabling a diverse and changing energy portfolio, and mitigating damage and limiting customer outages during severe weather events and other major disruptions to the system.

Transmission Infrastructure Investment

Members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) are committed to investing in the smarter energy infrastructure needed to deliver America’s energy future. EEI’s member companies invested $21.9 billion in transmission infrastructure in 2017 and expect to invest an additional $89 billion in the transmission system through 2021 to make it more efficient, more dynamic, and more secure and to continue to provide customers with the affordable, reliable, safe, and increasingly clean energy they need. 

The energy grid is one of the nation’s most capital-intensive assets, and EEI member companies require shareholder support in the form of capital investment and regulatory support in the form of sound ratemaking policy in order to build, own, and operate the transmission infrastructure that ensures reliable and affordable service to customers.

Significant replacements and/or upgrades are required now and in coming years to maintain and to improve system performance. Extensive investments also are needed to integrate new renewable and distributed energy resources and to respond to a rapidly changing energy mix. At the same time, EEI’s members continue to invest in the transmission system to maintain and to improve its resiliency against both cyber and physical threats. These transmission investments help to save customers money over the long term by connecting them with lower-cost generation, reducing overall system costs, and providing a variety of economic benefits at the regional and local levels.
  • Electric Transmission: Enabling the Clean Energy Transformation - As part of h​is Build Back Better platform, President Biden confirmed that building modern, climate-resistant infrastructure and a clean energy future is key to his economic plan. Electric transmission infrastructure is the backbone of the nation’s energy grid and will play an important role in facil­itating the continued transition to clean energy. The transmission system has enabled electric companies to integrate more clean energy resources and technologies into the grid affordably and reliably. EEI’s member companies are vital to transmission development and  are committed to getting the energy they provide as clean as they can as fast as they can, without compromising on the reliability and affordability that are essential to the customers and communities they serve. This report reviews the role of EEI’s member companies in the clean energy transformation and reinforces the important role that transmission plays and will continue to play in the success of this transformation.
  • America’s Electric Companies:  Serving Our Customers and Planning for the Energy Grid of the Future With Electric Transmission Technologies and Innovation​ - Electricity customers continue to benefit from investments in smarter energy infrastructure by connecting more customers to an increasingly diverse and dispersed range of energy resources, helping to foster soci­etal, economic, and industrial changes across the country. This report highlights the critical role of advanced tech­nology in the design and deployment of innovative and transformative electric transmission projects and explains how these investments benefit customers.​
  • Investing in Transmission to Enhance the Reliability and Resilience of the Energy Grid​​ - A reliable, resilient transmission system is the backbone of the energy grid and enables electric companies to deliver energy where it is needed, when it is needed. This report provides EEI member company case studies demonstrating the investments being made in smarter energy infrastructure to help to protect the energy grid from extreme weather and cyber-attacks; help predict and prevent outages; and help electric companies respond to and restore power faster when outages do occur.​
  • Transmission Infrastructure Investment – Learn more about the need for capital investment and sound ratemaking policies that enable electric companies to maintain a reliable and resilient energy grid.
  • The Transmission Investment: Revisiting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Two-Step DCF Methodology for Calculating Allowed Returns on Equity – This white paper identifies shortcomings in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approach for estimating just and reasonable returns on equity (ROE) for critical transmission investments. EEI’s member companies invested $20.8 billion in transmission infrastructure in 2016 and expect to invest an additional $90 billion through 2020 to make the transmission system more efficient, more dynamic, and more secure; and to continue to provide customers with the affordable, reliable, safe, and increasingly clean energy they need.
  • To Ensure That Its Policies Support the Continued Development of Reliable and Resilient Transmission Infrastructure, FERC Should Discontinue Its Practice of Allowing Pancaked Complaints – This white paper evaluates the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) recent practice of setting virtually all return on equity (ROE) complaints for hearing, which has resulted in nearly seven years of rate uncertainty for transmission-owning electric companies and their investors. Numerous complaints have been filed, and few have been resolved. This situation threatens to erode the confidence of investors in FERC-regulated transmission assets, which threatens the ability of electric companies to cost-effectively access capital needed to maintain and expand a robust, reliable, and resilient transmission grid.

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