Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on August 22, 2022
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on June 9, 2023
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 22, 2023
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the ongoing assessment, maintenance, development, modernization, and reliability improvements of the electric transmission, and distribution infrastructure to improve grid resilience. These efforts should be based upon an analysis of increased demand, shifting sources of generation, the impact of extreme weather events, and the need to maintain the nation's energy resiliency and security.
Specifically, ASCE supports:
- Identification and prioritization of risks to energy security in energy transmission infrastructure, and the development of standards and guidelines for managing those risks.
- Encouraging the use of ASCE Standards, Manuals of Practice, and other accepted engineering standards in the design and construction of transmission distribution infrastructure.
- Developing a national resiliency plan that strengthens systems to withstand cyber-attacks, human-induced, and natural disruptive events and enable rapid restoration of supply after such events.
- Mechanisms for a streamlined and timely approval of permitting energy transmission infrastructure to minimize the period from preliminary planning to operation.
- Grid Modernization Design focused on increasing capacity, improved hazard mitigation (wildfires, floods, hurricanes, extreme heat, extreme cold, and other weather-related events), renewable energy integration, and “Smart Grid” technologies that allow consumers to better manage energy consumption and costs.
The United States (U.S.) has an aging and complex patchwork system for energy transmission. The U.S.’s electric system consists of power generation, transmission lines, and substations that must operate cohesively to power our homes and businesses. Most components of these systems were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s with a 50-year life expectancy, and more than 640,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the lower 48 states' power grids are at full capacity. The U.S. is anticipated to experience funding gaps in electric generation, transmission, and distribution that are projected to grow.
The U.S.’s electric system is not the only energy transmission system facing these problems. With increasing demand, the retiring of fossil fuel generation facilities, the creation of new renewable generation in different geographies, and the impact of extreme weather events, the need to add new, improved, and more resilient energy transmission systems has become even greater.
The U.S.’s energy transmission systems faces challenges from vulnerability to cyber-attacks, aging equipment and infrastructure, and an increase in public expectation of reliable always available energy sources. Weather events and human-induced disruptive events have caused significant long-term outages in the past few decades all over the U.S.
Ensuring a resilient transmission system that can meet increasing demands, shifting sources of energy generation, through a secure reliable energy network to deliver reliable, clean electricity is critical for the nation.
ASCE Policy Statement 484
First Approved in 2001