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US unveils plan to modernize grid, boost solar integration

The United States on Tuesday announced a major plan to modernize its aging electrical grid. The plan aims to ease the strain caused by the rapid growth of solar power and other clean energy sources.

US unveils plan to modernize grid, boost solar integration

The initiative has secured commitments from 21 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, among others.

White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi called the initiative “unprecedented.” He said, “We are investing tens of billions—the most significant public investment in a generation—to strengthen our grid, prevent power outages during extreme weather, bolster U.S. energy security, and drive innovation.”

A critical part of the plan is addressing the backlog of solar power waiting to be connected to the grid.

Solar power has grown faster than any other energy source in the US over the past five years, as per data from Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, the surge has exposed weaknesses in the grid, making it hard for utilities to manage the mounting load.

According to research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, quoted by Solar Power World, there was nearly 2,600 GW of new power generation seeking grid connections in 2023.

The situation could get worse. The EIA predicts that solar and battery storage will make up 81% of new electric-generating capacity in 2024. This calls for urgent upgrades of transmission lines.

To streamline the application process for states seeking federal funds and loans to develop more transmission lines, the US government will provide necessary technical assistance, according to the statement.

Currently, ten major transmission projects are underway, expected to connect nearly 20 GW of new power to the grid, the statement said.

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