The Department of Energy opened the second solicitation in its program to prime the pump for new transmission needed to meet the Biden administration’s climate goals.
The U.S. Department of Energy opened the second solicitation in its program to prime the pump for new transmission needed to meet the Biden administration’s climate goals.
Authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the program allows DOE to borrow up to $2.5 billion to assist in the construction of high-capacity transmission lines that otherwise would not be built or to increase the capacity of already planned lines.
On Oct. 30, DOE announced it would spend $1.3 billion to purchase up to 50% of the capacity on three projects totaling 3.5 GW: the 500-kV Cross-Tie Transmission Line (Nevada and Utah), the Southline Transmission Project (Arizona and New Mexico) and the Twin States Clean Energy Link (New Hampshire and Vermont). (See DOE to Sign up as Off-taker for 3 Transmission Projects.)
The program offers capacity contracts to late-stage projects to increase investors’ and potential customers’ confidence and reduce the risk of developers undersizing projects. DOE will seek to recover its costs by selling its capacity rights, allowing it to make offers to additional projects.
DOE’s National Transmission Needs Study, also released in October, estimated the U.S. must more than double its regional transmission and expand interregional capacity more than fivefold by 2035 to ensure reliability, resilience to extreme weather and access to renewables.
Responding to industry feedback, DOE broke its second solicitation into two parts, with an initial submission of a “project paper and virtual presentation” to be followed by a detailed application and in-person interview.
DOE will hold a public webinar to provide additional information on the solicitation Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. ET.