The Case For Transmission, and Transmission Stock List

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by Tom Konrad CFA

We cannot choose between transmission and renewable distributed electricity.  Local renewable generation requires long distance transmission to even out variations of supply.  Hence, both advocates of distributed renewables and large wind and solar farms should support transmission improvements.  Here are a few stocks which should benefit from such investments.

Shortly after I launched Clean Energy Wonk, Blogger took the site down because I made the mistake of including both the words "Cheap" and "Free" in the title of an article about Energy Efficiency.  Since it can apparently take up to 2 months for a human to actually check that a blog is not spam, I moved the Clean Energy Wonk domain to WordPress.

I’ve now posted an article on the new Clean Energy Wonk making the case that distributed wind and solar need transmission to export excess power when they are operating, and to supply power when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine.  Simply arguing that a state can produce enough renewable electricity locally to supply its needs does not mean that that electricity will show up at the right time, or even the right month.  Buying storage to bridge the gap would be prohibitively expensive.  I estimate that investments in transmission would cost 1/65th as much as the investments in electricity storage that they would make unnecessary. The long version on Clean Energy Wonk is called "Heretic Battles Strawman."

Because transmission is necessary for large scale renewable development, investors in transmission companies should be able to benefit from a large scale build-out of renewable generation without having to bet on a particular solar or wind company, or even a particular technology.  Our Electric Grid stock list is full of such companies.  These are my favorites:




  • ITC Holdings (ITC) is probably the safest way to play this sector, since, as a utility gird operator, most of its assets are subject to utility regulation, and hence earn a regulated return on equity paid for by utility customers.


DISCLAIMER: The information and trades provided here are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of these securities. Investing involves substantial risk and you should evaluate your own risk levels before you make any investment. Past results are not an indication of future performance. Please take the time to read the full disclaimer here.



  1. Thank you! Will you also share your reaction to the new smart-grid ETF? (GRID,which includes these transmission stocks.)
    I assume you’ll caution investors to wait for a better entry point. But is this ETF a good way to get exposure to transmission stocks plus smart grid stocks?


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