Improved transmission needed to reap benefits of renewable energy, according to white paper

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Lu Nelsen, policy associate,, 402.687.2100 ext. 1022; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

LYONS, NEBRASKA – Clean power commitments have increased at the county and city levels, with 11 counties and 104 cities nationwide pledging to 100 percent clean energy goals at the end of 2018. As more renewable energy is developed across the nation, regulators and policymakers must prepare for the changing electric power landscape, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition” takes a look at the growing renewable energy industry and an electric transmission system that is evolving to take advantage of wind and solar energy resources.

“While transmission improvements have allowed for additional development of renewable energy resources, much of the new grid capacity has already been occupied,” said Lu Nelsen, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report. “Subsequent upgrades are likely necessary for the electric grid to adapt to the changing landscape.”

For more than a decade, regional transmission planners have worked to address shortfalls in the electric transmission system, and to create a network that can connect additional generation to the grid. Estimates point to 70 to 220 gigawatts of new electric generation required as early as 2030, according to the report. The author examines efforts that improve reliability across the transmission network and reduce potential bottlenecks on the system.

“A robust transmission system will be essential to reap the benefits of renewable energy resources,” Nelsen said. “To address the challenges of a changing electric power sector, regulators and policymakers must plan for an improved electric transmission network that will ensure renewable generation can continue to provide benefits to rural communities while offering opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and meet demands for clean energy.”

For more information and to view “Capacity for Change: The Role of Transmission Infrastructure in Energy Transition,” visit