Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House begins push for more transmission lines

Picture of Jennifer Granholm

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden administration is looking to jumpstart the construction of new transmission lines by offering up to $8.3 billion in loans and, separately, issuing new guidelines to help state officials with siting.

Driving the news: The Energy Department on Tuesday invited applications for up to $5 billion in loans for projects like high-voltage systems; transmission for offshore wind; and systems that follow rail and highway routes.

  • It's separately offering up to $3.25 billion from the Western Area Power Administration.
  • Meanwhile, the Transportation Department released details for how its offices should work with states on siting for transmission, renewable energy projects, EV charging and more.

Why it matters: The major build-out of renewables generation the White House hopes to accelerate will need new infrastructure to carry and integrate those electrons.

  • But getting transmission built is notoriously hard, and jurisdiction is fragmented both federally and between the federal government and states.

Yes, but: While Tuesday's announcements are using existing finances and authorities, the White House is also asking Congress to help.

The White House infrastructure proposal calls for steps including the creation of a new tax credit for developing high-voltage transmission.

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