tems in particular have not been adequately communicated to decision makers and the general public. Some electric utility executives assert that their customers value lower rates more than the benefits of a modernized grid, which would increase costs in the short term (NETL, 2007b).
In order to overcome this barrier, significant efforts need to be made to communicate the benefits of a modern grid to all stakeholders. Improved communication with the public is also necessary regarding the costs and benefits associated with the current transmission system in particular, which is experiencing ever increasing congestion and needs expansion. It is difficult to site new transmission lines. Many proposals for new lines generate considerable opposition, usually based on aesthetic, property value, or health and safety concerns. For example, American Electric Power, a large Midwest utility, recently experienced a 12-year approval process for a new 90-mile 765-kV transmission line.52
Many of the technologies needed to modernize the grid can be deployed before 2020, but most of the technical challenges will involve seamlessly integrating these technologies. Not only must multiple technologies work in concert across a huge and sprawling system, but the system is owned and operated by numerous (often regional) stakeholders with diverse perspectives, incentives, and constraints.
Given these factors, a broad vision and an accompanying road map are required to achieve consensus on common goals and to guide the integrated deployment of modern technologies that meet the performance requirements of the modern grid, as described previously in this chapter.
The complexity of the transmission system suggests that the development of clear metrics to measure societal benefits will be essential to measuring progress. The types of metrics that may be considered include reductions in electricity demand forecasting error (from 6 percent to, say, less than 0.5 percent); reductions in maintenance cost (by as much as 4 times); reductions in average recovery from major outages (from hours/days to minutes/seconds); reductions in average annual customer outages (from 100 minutes to, say, 3 seconds); and increases in