Future Energy Infrastructure: National “Failure to Act” Study

For the American Society of Civil Engineers, EBP (formerly EDR Group) is developing a series of new 2020 reports assessing the long-term adequacy and economic implications of maintaining current electricity infrastructure investment levels.

This is an update to earlier studies in 2011 and 2016.  The analysis covers electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems within each region of the US, and considers the expected future adequacy of infrastructure given supply capacity and facility age profiles. The study also considersfuture demand requirements, given expected changes in the economic and demographic profile of each region, as well as shifts in technology that affect demand requirements.

In this study, shifts towards solar and wind generation and distributed energy sources and technologies are considered in terms of their potential to affect the economy as substitutes for coal and other fossil-based fuels, with offsetting transmission investment costs associated with shifts in the spatial locations of generation sources.  Similarly, expected shifts toward distributed generation are considered in terms of offsetting investment costs for reconfiguring urban distribution systems.

The report includes (a) estimation of the difference between current investment levels and those required to maintain infrastructure performance levels in the future, (b) the extent to which there will be a gap in evolving the generation, transmission and distribution systems to increasing reliance on renewable energy, demand management and needed control technologies and (c)  the long-term macroeconomic consequences of under-investing in infrastructure, in terms of effects on American economic competitiveness and growth of jobs and income.