Transmission and distribution investment strong, getting stronger

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Shareholder-owned electric utilities and stand-alone transmission companies invested a record $30.3 billion in the U.S. transmission and distribution infrastructure in 2011, according to research from Edison Electric Institute (EEI).  

The research revealed that investment in transmission increased 8.4 percent from 2010 to 2011, for a total of $11.1 billion, due to replacing and upgrading existing transmission lines, developing new lines, and interconnecting such new sources of generation as renewables onto the grid.

The investment in distribution increased by 13 percent from 2010 to 2011, for a total of $19.1 billion, in order for utilities to ramp up the development of automated meter infrastructure and other 'smart grid' activities related to the distribution system, and to repair or replace lines damaged by severe weather.

"Looking beyond 2011," said EEI President Tom Kuhn, "the industry is projected to spend more than $94 billion on capital expenditures in 2012 ($13-$14 billion on transmission; $20 billion for distribution).  During the last 10 years, the industry's investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure has doubled."

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