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March 26, 2023
As climate change continues to rear its head around the world, battering some places with flooding and earthquakes and others with severe drought, the United States’ plans to move toward clean energy are being slowed down by a lack of transmission lines.
Experts are sounding the alarm about how long it is taking for the US to construct new transmission lines, which carry power generated in one location to other locations where it can be used. The massive metal structures use thick lines to connect power from its source to homes and businesses across the country. However, these lines carry clean energy, as well, and if the US is to transition to more green energy, the country will need more transmission lines.
The battle to build more lines is not as simple as executing a plan. According to experts, landowners are hesitant to allow power companies to construct the huge towers on their property due to their appearance. Local lawmakers say their communities do not need the extra lines right now, and do not want to foot the bill for bringing more transmission lines to their areas. Because the lines carry power long distances and through many states, there is a struggle to decide who is responsible for paying for more lines to be constructed. If lawmakers in one state do not believe their constituents need the extra lines, they are likely to punt the bill to another state, often blocking the lines from ever being constructed.
According to a report by Professor Jeffrey Jenkins at Princeton University, if the US is to meet its clean energy goals, construction of new transmission lines must double each year beginning immediately. Part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year contains provisions to incentivize power companies and landowners alike to build more transmission infrastructure.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: ESQUIRE