Trump infrastructure priority plan includes transmission, wind, energy storage

Dive Brief:

  • A 50-item list of infrastructure priorities compiled by the Trump administration and released by McClatchy and the Kansas City Star includes provisions for transmission expansion, wind and energy storage, among other power sector projects.
  • It is not clear if the $137 billion wish list is a draft or final version, the outlets reported, but is similar to an earlier list the transition team provided to the National Governor's Association for review. 
  • Senate Democrats also released an infrastructure plan, calling for $100 billion for power grid upgrades and incentives for renewable energy.

Dive Insight:

Trump's infrastructure wish list includes many provisions observers would expect — the document is heavy on the bridges and road projects he promised throughout the campaign would create jobs for Americans. 

Those in the utility industry who hoped that affinity for big infrastructure projects would translate into power sector programs may take heart in the document released by McClatchy on Tuesday. Just how the Trump administration plans to encourage the projects remains unclear, but it could give an indication of the White House's priorities.

Of the 50 infrastructure projects, seven focus on the electricity sector:

  • #9: The Plains and Eastern transmission project, which aims to move wind power from the Oklahoma panhandle to load centers in Tennessee;
  • #12: Hydroelectric Plants operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, many of which are slated for upgrades;
  • #16: The TransWest Express Transmission line, which would deliver renewable energy produced in Wyoming to load centers in California, Nevada and Arizona;
  • #17: The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind projects, an up-to 3,000 MW wind energy project in Wyoming;
  • #20: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a multi-utility project that would transport gas from West Virginia down through North Carolina;
  • #21: The Champlain Hudson Power Express, a hydropower project that could bring up to 1,000 MW of clean power to the New York metro, and;
  • #49: Energy Storage and Grid Modernization in California, which highlights the mitigation efforts taken during the Aliso Canyon natural gas shortage.

It's not clear whether the document is a draft or finalized edition, nor whether it has been submitted to congressional lawmakers. But according to McClatchy, the National Governors' Association asked state governments for input on an infrastructure program list for the transition team last month, and that list is nearly identical to the one compiled by the White House. 

Though the NGA list was preliminary, the association's letter to state governments pledged "there will be a more formal process for states to submit information" once Trump takes office. 

Many of the power sector projects listed are already underway, such as the expedited storage procurement in California. Others, like the Plains and Eastern line, have encountered permitting difficulties and have yet to begin construction. 

The infrastructure list was presented in slide a series of slides, with little specific information beyond cost and job estimates:

Trump's team included seven power sector proposals in his infrastructure wish list. 

Senate Democrats also released an infrastructure plan this week, calling for for $100 billion in investments on power transmission, distribution and renewable energy. Under that plan, permanent tax incentives would be given for renewables and other clean energy technologies. 

"The level of incentive would be based on performance: the cleaner the technology or the more energy conserved, the larger the incentive," Democrats wrote in their proposal. 

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Filed Under: Transmission & Distribution Solar & Renewables Energy Storage Regulation & Policy Technology
Top image credit: Gage Skidmore