Emilia Chojkiewicz, Umed Paliwal, Nikit Abhyankar, Casey Baker, Ric O’Connell, Duncan Callaway, and Amol Phadke “Accelerating Transmission Expansion by Using Advanced Conductors in Existing Right-of-Way” (Revised February 2024) | WP-343R


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 reconductoring can help meet over 80% of the new interzonal transmission needed to reach over 90% clean electricity by 2035 given restrictions on greenfield transmission build-out. 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.