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Every day, millions of Californians rely on our energy grid to power our modern way of life. Thanks to a network of transmission lines that carry energy from where it’s generated to where it’s used, we’re able to heat and cool our homes, keep the lights on in our schools and businesses, and even charge our vehicles. We rarely think twice about it — until the power goes out. Most of America’s transmission lines were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and were only intended to have a 50-year lifespan. We’re way overdue for an upgrade.

Improving California’s existing transmission infrastructure, building new lines, and pursuing a regional approach to transmission planning and coordination will ensure we can all enjoy reliable electricity, while also bringing thousands of new living-wage jobs to the state, lowering costs, and accelerating the clean energy transition.

Transmission Means Reliability

Keeping The Lights And AC On In Extreme Weather

Last year, California saw one of the worst heat waves in modern history, and the triple-digit temperatures in the summertime aren’t dropping anytime soon. When everyone reaches for the thermostat in these extreme conditions, our outdated power grid gets overloaded, risking dangerous outages. It doesn’t have to be this way: We can avoid the risk of blackouts when temperatures soar by upgrading our transmission infrastructure and implementing modern technologies that can improve the grid’s capacity to move energy during high demand. With a robust, 21st-century transmission system, we can keep the lights on and stay cool when it gets hot.

Transmission Means Affordability

Transmission Clears The Way For The Lowest-Cost Clean Energy

Just as roads and bridges experience gridlock during rush hour, our transmission system can get congested when energy use surges and there’s not enough capacity available to move low-cost energy where it needs to go.  When extreme temperatures hit and Californians all reach for the thermostat at once, it puts tremendous pressure on our outdated transmission grid, leading to grid congestion and higher electric bills. Adding grid-enhancing technologies, or GETs, to our existing transmission grid could unlock 40% more grid capacity and reduce congestion costs in the short term. Over time, building new transmission projects will let us connect more clean wind and solar power and lower energy costs even more.

Transmission Means Cleaner Energy

Transmission Is Our Ticket To 100% Clean Energy

On a mild day in 2022, California met 100% of its energy demand with renewable sources for the first time ever. It was an exciting milestone — but on average, clean energy supplies just a quarter of California’s energy. To achieve our stated goal of 100% clean energy by 2045, we need to upgrade our transmission infrastructure. Already, the U.S. has enough clean energy projects under development to meet 80% of the nation’s total demand — we just need an improved transmission system to adequately transport that energy to where we work, live, and play. More transmission to the state’s coastal cities also means we can close old, polluting fossil plants in communities overburdened with pollution.

Transmission Means Jobs

Good-Paying Jobs For California’s Economy

The need to build and maintain transmission infrastructure means we can permanently employ Californians. By some estimates, the U.S. needs to build as many as 91,000 miles of new transmission lines in the next 13 years — which means new high-paying jobs across the country. Planning and building more interstate transmission and using it efficiently could create between 34,400 and 138,700 permanent jobs across the state within the next 10 years.

Policy Updates

  • SB 1006, led by Senator Padilla in California, would support advanced transmission technologies by requiring transmission utilities to work with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to jointly prepare a strategic plan to deploy them. This bill passed the initial policy committee in California with unanimous approvals.
  • AB 3246, led by Assemblymember Garcia, focuses on streamlining the process of deploying advanced reconductoring technologies on existing transmission lines. This bill passed the initial policy committee in California with unanimous approvals.
  • AB 2779, led by Assemblymember Petrie-Norris, requires CAISO to report to the CPUC and legislature any new use of GETs that are planned to be deployed and the cost savings that will be generated. This bill passed the initial policy committee in California with unanimous approvals.

Additional Resources

A more reliable grid. New jobs. Cleaner power. Transmission makes it possible.