Billion-Dollar Power Lines Finally Inching Ahead to Help US Grids

Brian Eckhouse, Naureen S Malik and Dave Merrill

March 6, 2023

(Bloomberg) — The biggest impediment to the US achieving a cleaner power grid isn’t climate deniers or fossil-fuel lobbies; it’s a lack of transmission lines. The country badly needs more conduits to cart wind and solar energy and hydropower to cities.

For more than a decade, multibillion-dollar power-line projects have struggled to advance, slowed or halted by bureaucracy, NIMBYism or general industry stasis. Now suddenly, several are progressing — and with them the prospect of newly unleashed clean energy as well as more resilient grids in the face of ever-dangerous storms and extreme heatwaves.

There’s SunZia in the Southwest, TransWest Express in the Mountain West, Grain Belt Express to the Midwest, and Champlain Hudson Power Express into New York City — projects that together will cost at least $13 billion. Some are now ordering expensive equipment, a signal of their advancement. SunZia and TransWest expect to begin construction this year.

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