To support appropriate, cost-effective, and reliable transmission technology by transmission owners and investors.
WIRES believes that transmission owners should make good decisions about deployment of appropriate technologies that enhance the capacity of new and existing transmission facilities. In order to counteract the age and stress on facilities, meet rising demand, and provide higher reliability with the lowest feasible public or environmental impact, improvement of all aspects of the grid is important. WIRES recognizes efficient and reliable transmission bulk power at high voltages may involve more than cables and towers and new rights-of-way.
With respect to "advanced transmission technologies," WIRES notes that a wide variety of devices and technology are or may soon be available to transmission owners to deploy in the development of their systems. Eighteen such advanced technologies are enumerated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (sec. 1223), including high-temperature lines (including superconducting cables); underground cables; advanced conductor technology; high-capacity ceramic electric wire, connectors, and insulators; and optimized transmission line configurations such as multiple phased transmission lines.
Although WIRES contends that, for years to come, only a strong integrated network of transmission systems can ensure the availability and quality of power needed for modern industrial, commercial, and residential uses, deployment of technological solutions can in appropriate cases be attractive alternatives to traditional transmission expansion and may help address the concerns of state siting agencies. WIRES Members are committed to exploring these options.
The selection of technological options and where and when to use them are among the key decisions to be made by transmission owners in their own system planning. Regulators should be hesitant to pick winners and losers, as technological innovation usually moves more quickly than public policy. To help ensure that technology is appropriately considered along side reliability, economic and other planning considerations, regulators should continue to foster greater awareness of available technologies, and should highlight technology publicly by endorsing the prudence of transmission owner decisions to use advanced technologies. WIRES will work with technology companies and policymakers to raise the visibility of technology options that make the grid safer, more reliable, and efficient and to promote public policies that encourage these important solutions.