Issue Brief

Enhancing Existing Transmission Lines Issue Brief



NCEL Point of Contact

Ava Gallo
Climate and Energy Program Manager



Grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) and advanced reconductoring, the energy efficiency tools of the power grid, can help increase the capacity of the grid faster and without building new lines. By increasing the capacity of existing lines, the grid can transmit more electricity without the lengthy planning and permitting process required for new transmission build. While construction of new transmission will still be needed to support the U.S. energy transition, these alternative approaches serve an important need, especially in the near-term.

A regional study on the impact of GETs showed nationwide benefits such as doubling the amount of renewables that can be integrated into the grid prior to building new large-scale transmission lines. Also, GET integration creates jobs – 330,000 local construction jobs, and 20,000 high-paying operations jobs. A recent study showed that reconductoring transmission lines could add about 64 Terrawatt (TW) miles of new interzonal transmission capacity by 2035 compared to about 16 TW miles from only building new transmission lines and would allow the United States to get 90% of its electricity from emissions-free power sources by 2035.


(bills following two asterisks [**] indicates bipartisan support)

  • Colorado S.B.16 (Enacted 2023): Requires the Colorado Electric Transmission Authority to study the need for expanded transmission in the state including by co-locating multiple transmission lines, reconductoring transmission lines; and strategically siting new transmission corridors.
  • Minnesota S.F.4942 (Enacted 2024): Requires transmission owners to identify areas of congestion over the past 3 years and the next 5 years, the increased cost to ratepayers as a result of that congestion, the technical feasibility and cost of installing GETs to address congestion, and propose an implementation plan to install GETs at such points. Allows the Commission to approve cost recovery mechanisms for GET investments.
  • Montana H.B.729 (Enacted 2023): Enables the State’s Public Utility Commission to approve cost-effectiveness criteria for Advanced Conductor projects that may be placed into a utility’s ROI (Return on Investment) Rate Base.
  • **Utah S.B.191 (Passed Senate 2024): Requires that during transmission expansion or improvement, distribution companies must conduct cost-effectiveness and timetable analyses of GETs integration, and report to the Public Service Commission.
  • Virginia H.B.862 (Enacted 2024): Requires an electric utility to include in electric distribution grid planning (i) a comprehensive assessment of the potential application of grid-enhancing technologies and advanced conductors and (ii) if applicable, a detailed explanation of why such technologies or conductors are not included in such plan.


NCEL Resources

Online Resources

NCEL Blog: Increasing Transmission and Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs)

This resource breaks down GETs as tools for modernizing the power grid.

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NCEL Blog: Utah and New York Look to Grid-Enhancing Technologies to Increase Transmission Capacity

This blog highlights Utah and New York's work to integrate GETs into the power grid.

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NCEL Press Release: FERC Releases New Rule to Improve Transmission Planning in U.S. States

State legislators across the nation coordinated to request FERC to release an improved and robust transmission planning rule.

Go to resource

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