In order to meet the Renewable Portfolio Standards of states, utilities will need to add an aggregate of nearly 40 gigawatts of clean energy generation by 2030. And to get all that power to customers, a total investment of as much as $2 trillion into transmission and distribution networks will be required, according to a report released today by energy consultancy The Brattle Group.In the report The Brattle Group estimates that transmission and distribution of electricity will require an investment of $880 billion by 2030 compared with either $505 or $951 billion for generation depending on assumptions. Either way, the amount of money spent on building the smart grid is going to be comparable to that building new power plants.
To maintain grid reliability with so much new, intermittent and far-flung renewable energy generation, our national electricity grid needs a serious upgrade. In fact, the Brattle report estimates that more money might have to be invested in the grid than in actual renewable energy generation.
I wonder how much the cost for new distribution and transmission could be reduced with distributed power generation such as solar powered roofs, and whether these savings would be greater than the increase in costs of using distributed power.