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DOE emphasizes need for more data on transmission facilities and usage

From the August 26, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published August 26, 2014

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
More information is needed on electric transmission facilities and their usage, the Department of Energy (DOE) stressed in a draft national electric transmission congestion study. "Despite widespread agreement on the strategic importance of electric transmission infrastructure—to our economy, our quality of life, and our national security—there is little comprehensive, consistent information available on transmission usage, the age and likely remaining life of transmission facilities, or transmission investment," DOE said in the Aug. 19 draft study.

Looming challenges for the industry—including more renewables and demand response, coal plant retirements, rooftop solar and other distributed generation, smart grid technology, and cyber security—"will require the collection, validation, and sharing of many kinds of data that are not readily available today," the report said.

DOE said it is considering the development of a legislative proposal to "assist in structuring and guiding this data collection and data‐sharing process." The types of data that could be covered in such a legislative proposal include:
  • Flow and capability (rating) data for consistently defined and monitored flowgates, interfaces, or paths within regions and across seams;
  • Price spreads between nodes across existing seams, especially for those that are geographically close but electrically distant;
  • Consistent and publicly accessible data concerning proposed generation capacity in interconnection queues, as well as expected retirements, de‐rates, and outages to enable retrofits of existing resources;
  • Definitive source and contact information for modeling and physical data for bulk power system facilities; and
  • Remaining life (condition) of critical facilities.
The draft study does not include proposals to designate any new national congestion corridors, but the agency said it may do so in a final version of the study. DOE said will issue a new study of transmission issues in 2015 and plans to release annual reports on publicly available data on "transmission matters, including congestion."

Public comments on the draft study are due by Oct. 20 and can be submitted by email to


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Vice President, Integrated Media and Communications
Meena Dayak

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro