Chojkiewicz, Emilia, Paliwal, Umed, Abhyankar, Nikit, Baker, Casey, O’Connell, Ric, Callaway, Duncan, and Phadke, Amol “Accelerating Transmission Expansion by Using Advanced Conductors in Existing Right-of-Way” (November 2023) | WP-343


As countries pursue decarbonization goals, the rapid expansion of transmission capacity for renewable energy (RE) integration poses a significant challenge due to hurdles such as permitting and cost allocation. However, we find that large-scale reconductoring with advanced composite-core conductors can cost-effectively double transmission capacity within existing right-of-way (ROW), with limited additional permitting. This strategy unlocks a high availability of increasingly economically viable RE resources in close proximity to the existing network. We implement reconductoring in a model of the United States power system, showing that the consideration of reconductoring enables four times more transmission build-out by 2035 – representing over 80% of the transmission needed to reach over 90% clean electricity. With $180 billion in system cost savings by 2050, reconductoring presents a cost-effective and time-efficient, yet underutilized, opportunity to accelerate global transmission expansion.