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July 23, 2013
Brattle Economists Prepare Study on the Benefits of New High Voltage Transmission Investments

Economists at The Brattle Group have authored a new study commissioned by WIRES that finds that new high voltage transmission investments offer numerous potential benefits that have too often been disregarded as remote, intangible, or hard to estimate. The report urges planners and policy makers to consider the full range of potential economic, reliability, environmental, and public policy benefits of new and upgraded transmission when evaluating which projects will serve customers and the economy best. For the first time, transmission planners and policy makers now have a catalogue of benefits and techniques for evaluation that they can employ in devising optimal regional development plans.

“The Benefits of Electric Transmission: Identifying and Analyzing the Value of Investments,” is a comprehensive analysis that documents:

  • All potential economic, reliability, operational, and public policy benefits from expanding or upgrading the high voltage grid;
  • The evolving experience and existing practices of planners in RTO and non-RTO regions when determining those benefits and the beneficiaries of new transmission capacity; and
  • How planners and policy makers can employ more systematic procedures and analysis to arrive at better transmission (and non-transmission) solutions.

According to WIRES President Don Clevenger of Oncor, “The economists and utility experts at The Brattle Group have provided planners and policy makers with something that they have lacked in almost every jurisdiction – a near-exhaustive catalogue of the benefits that transmission can provide and a practical way of bringing that understanding into the planning process. WIRES commends this report to anyone interested in investing in a more economic and efficient grid for the benefit of electricity customers.”

The report was authored by Brattle principals Johannes Pfeifenberger and Judy Chang and associate Michael Hagerty. The authors recently participated in a webinar, hosted by Husch Blackwell LLP. The report and slides from the presentation can be downloaded below.