Building a Clean Electric Grid
Research and policy recommendations to remove the barriers
to new electric transmission capacity in the Northwest.
To stave off the worst effects of climate change, Cascadia has committed to harnessing unprecedented amounts of wind and solar power to generate electricity instead of burning coal and gas. At the same time, we are striving to “electrify everything” currently powered by fossil fuels, from vehicles to home heating systems.
The problem? We don’t yet have the electric transmission capacity to fully realize these ambitions.
With no real transmission plan and strong financial disincentives to investing in new regional power lines, Northwest utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration (which owns and operates 75 percent of the region’s high voltage lines), are hardly building much of anything. And transmission projects that do make it off the ground can take a decade or more to site, permit, and construct. Meanwhile, hundreds of proposed wind and solar projects are languishing for years waiting to connect to the grid.
Sightline’s research and analysis provides Northwest leaders with guidance on getting to yes on critical new transmission lines at the clip the climate demands, without jettisoning the region’s commitment to environmental protection or respect of tribal rights.
Research and Analysis
While distributed solar can’t solve the region’s transmission woes alone, Idaho and Washington would be smart to follow Oregon’s lead in boosting it for a cleaner future.
The Big 3 Barriers to New Transmission Lines
Sightline Research in the News
- Podcast: Climate Talk: Emily Moore on PNW Electricity Transmission | RadioTacoma
- Video: The Boardman-to-Hemingway line could move enough clean electricity to power 150,000 homes | KGW8
- Grid locked: How land use battles are hindering the clean energy transition | Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
- By 2050, Washington might need to buy energy from other states | Crosscut
- Why transforming the grid is critical to Oregon’s clean-energy future | Oregon Public Broadcasting
- Here’s what the WA legislature expects to tackle on climate and environment in 2023 | Seattle Times
- A monumental transmission challenge threatens Pacific Northwest climate goals, economic growth | Portland Business Journal