California’s electric grid operator has granted approval to a comprehensive plan estimated to cost $7.3 billion, encompassing the construction of 45 power transmission projects over the course of the next ten years.

Additionally, the operator has implemented measures to facilitate the connection of new power plants in high-priority regions to the grid.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) announced that these projects will play a crucial role in fostering the advancement of over 40 gigawatts (GW) of new generation resources.

CAISO emphasized that the growing demand for electricity, particularly in sectors like transportation and construction, necessitates a substantial increase in power production in the coming years.

While the majority of the transmission projects will be concentrated within California, a few will also be situated in neighboring Arizona, according to CAISO.

CAISO’s 2022-2023 Transmission Plan recommends the deployment of power lines that will enable the state’s grid to accommodate more than 17 GW of solar resources, 8 GW of wind generation, 1 GW of geothermal development, and various battery storage projects.

In line with its plan, CAISO will prioritize connecting power plants to the grid in specific geographic zones deemed economically and operationally favorable for the development of new power lines and facilities.

Moreover, the grid operator has approved proposed reforms aimed at addressing the increasing levels of uncertainty in net load forecasts between day-ahead and real-time markets, particularly as the generation fleet transitions to a cleaner yet more variable mix of resources.

CAISO projects that its future transmission plans may require the addition of 70 GW of new power to the grid by 2033, with a further increase to 120 GW as the state strives to achieve its goal of a carbon-free power system by 2045.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) emphasized the vulnerability of power supply in the U.S. West to extreme heat, as the region relies on regional energy transfers to meet peak demand or compensate for reduced solar output.

This information was highlighted in NERC’s summer outlook report published on Wednesday.


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