U.S. utilities invest $51B annually in electric distribution systems
According to a new analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), major U.S. utilities are spending $51 billion annually on improving their electricity distribution systems, which is an increase of 54% over the past two decades when investments amounted to $31 billion.
This increase has been largely driven by increases in annual capital investment by these utilities in electric distribution systems, which nearly doubled since 1997, and accounts for the largest share of utility distribution system spending, EIA said.
The nation’s electric grid is rapidly aging – 70% of power transformers and transmission lines are 25 years of age or older, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, and investment in power transformers and other substation equipment has increased by 35% over the past decade alone.
According to data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cited by EIA, the largest increases in distribution spending were seen in older, more populated systems, particularly large cities like New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia.