Full Title: Creating a National HVDC Transmission Network
Author(s): John Tracey
Publisher(s): Day One Project
Publication Date: May 5, 2022
Full Text: Download Resource
The Biden Administration has committed the United States to a 50–52% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and to net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve these goals, the U.S. must rapidly increase renewable-energy production while simultaneously building the transmission capacity needed to carry power generated from new renewable sources. Such an investment requires transforming the American electricity grid at a never-before-seen speed and scale; for example, a recent study estimates that a 60% increase in transmission capacity will be required. One way to achieve this ambitious transmission target is to create a national High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission network overlaid atop the existing alternating current (AC) grid. In addition to advancing America’s climate goals, such an effort would spur economic development in rural areas, improve the grid’s energy efficiency, and bolster grid stability and security. This memo proposes several policy options to incentivize private-sector efforts to construct a national HVDC transmission network while avoiding environmental and eminent-domain concerns that have doomed previous HVDC projects. Options range from modest and easily implemented rule changes by federal agencies to more ambitious Congressional actions.