Research Commentary: Evaluating the Impact of the BIG WIRES Act

Audun Botterud, Christopher R. Knittel, John E. Parsons, and Juan Ramon L. Senga

January 2024

Building interregional transmission is critical to a decarbonized and more resilient U.S. grid. However, according to the most recent DOE Transmission needs study, planned transmission builds up to 2035 are lagging behind the country’s anticipated need. Several barriers exist to building transmission. These include insufficient coordination between different transmission planning regions brought by the prioritization of local clean energy goals, cost allocation concerns, NIMBYism, and the perception that benefits may not be realized for their own region. To address these challenges, the BIG WIRES Act (S.2827 Р118th Congress) was proposed in the U.S. Congress and would require transmission planning regions to achieve minimum interregional transfer requirements. In this research commentary, we summarize the key results of a soon-to-be-released working paper that is focused on determining the impact of the BIG WIRES Act. We aim to use insights derived from this work to further the conversation on current and future legislation pushing for minimum interregional transfer requirements.