'BIG WIRES' Act provides power benefits for Americans


Last updated 11/30/2023 at 1:28pm

The Building Integrated Grids With Inter-Regional Energy Supply (BIG WIRES) Act is a promising bipartisan bill in Congress that offers a wide range of benefits: reducing the risk of electrical power outages, lowering carbon emissions and energy costs, and increasing national security.

The recent gas pipeline rupture in our region gave many of us a taste of how a blackout in winter would feel. Extreme weather events damaging power stations and overloading the grid are on the rise.

The bill will require each U.S. transmission-planning region to be able to transfer at least 15% more of its current peak load capacity — its highest hourly electricity demand in a given year — to other regions in the event of an outage.

Because building new transmission lines is a major option for increasing load capacity, the bill will also help address the critical shortage of lines for transmitting renewable energy, thus bringing down CO2 emissions. Wind and solar farms now account for more than 92% of proposed new energy projects in the U.S.

In addition, households’ energy costs will go down as regions transfer inexpensive solar and wind power and those with cheaper energy sell to those with more expensive. Finally, a more stable and efficient electrical grid system will foster national security, an important feature during this time of increasing international conflict.

A bipartisan bill capable of all of these benefits ought to become law. Ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor the BIG WIRES Act (HR5551, SB2827).

William C. Engels



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