NRDC Releases Results of Joint GE Study on Interregional Transmission

Report reveals interregional transmission offers $12 billion in net benefits, prevents hundreds of thousands of customer outages during extreme weather

NEW YORK - NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) released a new study underscoring the net economic, reliability, and resilience benefits of policies that facilitate power-sharing across regions and markets. The study, conducted by GE Energy Consulting, demonstrated that increased sharing and transmission could save upwards of $1 billion during extreme weather events, and even greater annual savings.

“Our grid is in a state of transition as we make rapid progress to decarbonize our energy sources,” said Cullen Howe, senior renewable energy advocate at the NRDC. “The same infrastructure and policies that we need to facilitate this transition will also help us address more frequent weather events that strain the grid. By improving our ability to share power through interregional transmission, we can save money on electricity bills, avoid preventable damage, ensure energy reliability, support renewable energy growth, and even save people’s lives.”

In the study, GE modeled differences in grid stability and cost in the Eastern Interconnection, an area spanning the eastern part of the Rocky Mountains all the way to the Atlantic coast. A set of simulations compared conditions in scenarios where electricity is shared across regions and scenarios where it is not, to estimate the benefits of interregional transmission. The study revealed important findings:

·       Opening up interregional transmission would result in few, if any, power outages during extreme weather events and $12 billion in net benefits.

·       During a simulated heat wave, based on real-world conditions observed during a three-day 2018 heat wave, greater transmission prevented nearly 740 thousand customers from losing power across New York City and Washington, D.C. and saved $875 million.

·       During a simulated polar vortex, based on real-world conditions observed during the February 2014 polar vortex, greater transmission prevented nearly 2 million customers across the east coast from losing power and saved $1 billion.

·       Under normal weather conditions, greater transmission saved $3 billion a year in 2035 increasing to $4B in 2040 by opening up access to lower cost generation.

“While it is hard to measure the insurance value of transmission, this study shows a number of benefits that can be quantified,” said Rob Gramlich, president of Grid Strategies. “The costly transmission congestion paid by consumers is always higher in reality than it is in system models so these results should be viewed as a very conservative estimate.”

“This study shows the powerful value of inter-regional transmission in reducing costs and providing reliability in extreme events,” said Ric O’Connell, executive director of GridLab. “We need to lower the barriers to getting this infrastructure in place in order to mitigate rising costs and more frequent extreme weather.”

The full version of the study is available here:

An NRDC blog from Cullen Howe summarizing the study is available here: 

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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