The so-called “Seams Study” conducted by NREL and presented at POWER-GEN International in December 2017 during a session called #RocktheGrid is the basis of a new proposal put forth by a group of 18 U.S. governors. The bipartisan Governor’s Wind and Solar Energy Coalition sent a letter on November 9 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging commissioners to consider the benefits to the entire country of one unified electricity grid.
By connecting the country’s electricity grid through large HVDC lines, the nation’s electricity system will be “more resilient, efficient, reliable, competitive and less vulnerable to cyberattacks,” the letter said.
The Seams Study, conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) examines where the best renewable energy resources in the country lie and matches that with major population centers and electricity demand. For example, peak solar generation in the west coincides with peak electricity demand in the east. (See image below, Credit NREL).
The governor’s in their letter say that China has committed “$315 billion through 2020 for ultra-high voltage power lines to build a national transmission system to carry energy where it’s generated to where it’s needed.”
They urge FERC, in cooperation with the Department of Energy to convene a series of meetings in partnership with the states, transmission operators, Congress and the private sector to explore the benefits of the Seams Study.