Planning wisely for electricity transmission and distribution is important for advancing clean energy and protecting our environment

John Nielsen“New smart transmission lines and a flexible electricity distribution system are needed to ensure we are able to efficiently use existing energy and deliver the clean energy necessary to combat climate change and build the renewable energy economy.”

– John Nielsen, Clean Energy Program Director

In order to make strides in the fight against climate change, large-scale renewable energy projects are an essential component of a balanced energy policy for the West in addition to distributed energy such as solar and wind for homes and businesses. Western Resource Advocates works to improve the transmission network needed to link large-scale wind, solar and geothermal energy to existing grids and to ensure they have equal footing with fossil fuel resources. At the same time, WRA works to ensure proper siting of new transmission lines in order to protect sensitive areas. Smart transmission planning is essential to a clean energy future in the West. Western Resource Advocates developed a set of transmission guidelines and principles called “Smart Lines” that are at the core of sound and smart-from-the-start transmission planning for renewable energy sources.

Western Resource Advocates also seeks a modern, flexible electricity distribution grid that efficiently integrates innovative clean energy technologies, such as distributed solar generation, electric vehicles, and battery storage – all of which can reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change.  The current outdated distribution grid impedes deployment of key technologies that could mitigate climate change, and it is vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.  In addition, the grid performs poorly with respect to energy efficiency, wasting energy with voltages that are higher than necessary and restricting the variety of energy-efficient appliances that customers can choose.  Utilities do not have sufficient monitoring of the detailed status of the grid, and there is currently very little ability for self-healing such as automatic rerouting of electricity when certain sectors of the grid fail.  An upgraded flexible electricity distribution grid provides a more resilient supply of electricity with higher reliability and better survivability of natural and human-caused disasters.

Clean Energy Program

Electric Distribution Grid and Transmission


John Nielsen

Clean Energy Program Director

Erin Overtuf

Erin Overturf

Chief Counsel

Ken Wilson

Ken Wilson

Engineering Fellow