The U.S. power grid is clogged, and it’s holding back the energy transition. 

Solar and wind farms are waiting four or more years to connect to the grid. Rising congestion costs are driving up retail electricity prices while hurting generator revenues. And the process of approving projects for interconnection is so complicated and expensive that it’s forcing developers to abandon the projects they were planning to build. 

We need much more transmission capacity and a better process for connecting projects. And we need it now more than ever. Demand for power will skyrocket as we connect EVs, heat pumps and other new loads to the grid. But Rob Gramlich, our guest today, comes with good news: We did it before. We can do it again. 

Rob is the founder and president of Grid Strategies. In this episode, Shayle and Rob talk through the three major challenges of transmission – congestion, interconnection, and buildout. And Rob explains how we’ve built out transmission in the past with efforts like ERCOT’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) and MISO’s Multi-Value Projects (MVPs).

They also cover topics like:

  • The history of transmission in the U.S.
  • The three P’s of transmission challenges: planning, permitting, and paying
  • How congestion costs might shoot up over the next few years as grid capacity lags behind generation, causing new generation to slow and retail electricity prices to go up
  • Reforming the slow, complex, and expensive approval process for interconnection at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Where local opposition fits into transmission’s larger problems

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Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Support for Catalyst comes from Climate Positive, a podcast by HASI, that features candid conversations with the leaders, innovators, and changemakers who are at the forefront of the transition to a sustainable economy. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Catalyst is supported by Scale Microgrids, the distributed energy company dedicated to transforming the way modern energy infrastructure is designed, constructed, and financed. Distributed generation can be complex. Scale makes it easy. Learn more: