For decades now, I’ve been arguing that transmission isn’t “needed,” it’s wanted, and we’ve got so much in the way of transmission “incentives” that it’s hard to believe transmission lines are being approved. Updates, yes, most of the electrical grid was built and nothing since, and there’s so many reasons, so many millions of dollars of reasons, to underground transmission and distribution lines. Climate change extreme weather that’s downing lines makes this a priority, and then there’s substation domestic terrorism — it’s no longer the squirrels taking out substations!

Squirrel causes brief power outage for 9,500 customers in Minneapolis

But this — this is what the building push, infrastructure and more infrastructure, is all about — EXCESS CAPACITY! It’s not about “need” for more electricity, or building it at or near load so the system isn’t vulnerable to storms and/or domestic terrorists of any sort. It’s about SELLING EXCESS CAPACITY!

Xcel’s 2022 3Q SEC Filing

Next time you hear a utility “NEEDS” transmission, do remember this, and remind them that you know it’s not about need, it’s about facilitating marketing and bulk power sales.


In Grist today: Transmission Lies

February 3rd, 2009

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