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FIGURE 6 Estimates of the levelized cost of electricity for new baseload and intermittent generating sources in 2020. The vertical shaded bar shows the approximate range of average U.S. wholesale electricity prices in 2007; the dashed vertical line shows the average value in 2007, which was 5.7¢/kWh.

FIGURE 6 Estimates of the levelized cost of electricity for new baseload and intermittent generating sources in 2020. The vertical shaded bar shows the approximate range of average U.S. wholesale electricity prices in 2007; the dashed vertical line shows the average value in 2007, which was 5.7¢/kWh.

Electricity Transmission and Distribution

The U.S. electric power transmission and distribution system—the vital link between power-generating stations and customers—is in urgent need of expansion and upgrading. But with an investment only modestly greater than the cost of adding transmission lines and replacing vintage equipment, new technology could be incorporated that would improve the reliability of power delivery, enable the growth of wholesale power markets, allow integration of renewable energy sources into the power grid, improve resilience against blackouts and other disruptions, and provide better price signals to customers through “smart” metering.



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