Future Energy Infrastructure: National “Failure to Act” Study

For the American Society of Civil Engineers, EBP (formerly EDR Group) is developing a report assessing the long-term adequacy and economic implications of 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 U.S., and considers the expected future adequacy of infrastructure given supply capacity and facility age profiles, and projected investment levels. The study also investigates future demand requirements, given expected changes in regional economic and demographic profiles, as well as shifts in technology that affect demand requirements.

In this study, the shifts toward solar and wind generation and distributed energy sources are being evaluated by 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 being assessed 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 adequate 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) twenty year macroeconomic consequences if there is under-investment in infrastructure, in terms of effects on American economic competitiveness and growth of jobs, income and GDP.