Transmission Planning

The goal of NREL's transmission integration research is to tackle the challenges of integrating renewables and other technologies into the bulk-power system while maintaining safe, efficient, and cost-effective grids.

Direct current transmission link inside a converter station

Inside a converter station of a high-voltage direct current transmission link. Photo from Siemens

As the power sector continues to evolve and transitions to cleaner resources, the transmission system can play a key role in maximizing the benefits for electricity customers and maintaining a reliable grid.

From highly detailed power flow and stability analysis to national-scale planning studies, NREL advances understanding of the role and value of transmission in future power systems. NREL power system engineers and analysts work with electric utilities, policymakers, and other industry partners to conduct this work. The data and analysis enable stakeholders to make informed decisions about the future of regional and interregional transmission. Some of the key questions NREL is studying include:

  • How can we maximize existing transmission using technologies like high voltage direct current lines and dynamic line ratings?

  • What innovative methods can be used for planning and operating interregional transmission?

  • How could a significantly expanded transmission system deliver broad benefits to electricity customers?

  • How could increased transmission help keep the lights on during extreme weather events?


  • Power systems simulation—Expertise in large-scale grid integration studies, such as production cost and dynamic modeling

  • Power systems simulation—Expertise in large-scale grid integration studies, such as production cost and dynamic modeling

  • Transmission system planning—Expertise in the planning of transmission-level power systems, from generation and storage capacity expansion modeling to nodal production cost and power flow simulations

  • Transmission and distribution system co-simulation—Expertise in the co-simulation of combined transmission and distribution systems to gauge the impact of distributed energy resources on the bulk system and how bulk system operations impact distributed energy resources

Featured Transmission Studies

Check out NREL's latest work on transmission analysis.

National Transmission Planning Study
Identifying transmission that will improve reliability and affordability as the grid transitions to a decarbonized future.

Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Planning Study
Supporting offshore wind development along the U.S. Atlantic Coast through transmission solutions.

Interconnections Seam Study
Quantifying the benefits and costs of continental transmission across the U.S. electric grid

North American Renewable Integration Study
Analyzing how transmission can support sharing of supply and demand diversity across the entire North American continent.

In the News

NREL's transmission research is featured in the news. Read some of the recent articles highlighting the work.

On the Road to Increased Transmission: Higher-Voltage Alternating Current, NREL News (2024)

On the Road to Increased Transmission: Dynamic Line Ratings, NREL News (2024)

How To Realize the Maximum Value of Interregional Transmission, NREL News (2024)

A Look at the Future of Transmission: Getting Clean Electrons to Where They Need To Be, NREL News (2024)

On the Road to Increased Transmission: Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems, NREL News (2024)


Amy Rose

Group Manager and Senior Researcher