Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs) and advanced conductors offer some of the most exciting and immediate opportunities to improve and modernize the electric grid. These innovative technologies give grid planners promising tools to utilize existing infrastructure and right-of-ways more effectively. GETs improve energy efficiency, decrease congestion, and lower costs without the time-consuming challenges associated with siting and permitting new transmission lines.

What are GETs, and why do they matter?

GETs encompass a range of advanced electric technologies that update the grid’s basic infrastructure. The most common categories are summarized below:

  • Dynamic Line Ratings (DLRs) are high-tech sensors that are applied to existing transmission lines to monitor heat and weather conditions in the local environment. High temperatures can cause lines to sag, increasing hazards. DLRs help grid operators determine when local conditions are safe to boost capacity, rather than relying on static requirements that must factor in worst-case weather conditions. A 2024 DOE report found that DLRs can increase the power carried by lines by 10 to 30 percent while costing less than one-twentieth of what it would take to build a new line. 
  • Topology Optimization software monitors power generation, grid infrastructure, and power demand, allowing grid operators to redirect electricity efficiently in real time. It is beneficial in responding to unexpected events like blackouts or generator outages and alleviating overly congested bottlenecks that may arise from sudden surge in demand.
  • Power Flow Control technologies give grid operators more agency in determining the direction which electricity passes through the grid. Instead of letting electrons follow the path of least resistance, these devices enable operators to direct electricity to in-demand areas through existing transmission lines. Unlike topology optimization, which targets capacity on specific lines, power flow control technologies allow for adjustments across the entire network, strengthening the grid’s overall efficiency and reliability.

While these categories cover some of the most common types of GETs, a more comprehensive survey of advanced grid technologies can be found in DOE’s 2024 publication, ‘Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Innovative Grid Deployment”. The report examines the current state of various new technologies and explores avenues for their use and deployment in the coming decades.

Advanced Conductors form a distinct category that is sometimes included under the broader umbrella of GETs. Advanced conductors allow for reconductoring or re-hanging old transmission lines with technologically advanced, energy-efficient wires. Often, new siting and permitting reviews are not required if the line follows the same route or right-of-way. By allowing more power to flow through existing networks, grid capacity increases, leading to considerable savings. A 2024 Berkeley Haas paper estimated cost savings of $180 billion by 2050 when evaluating model scenarios in which reconductoring was available for grid upgrades, rather than just greenfield transmission development. The paper also claims that advanced conductors can transmit double the power of older wires. 

What do we GET?: The benefits

 Recent studies show that widespread adoption and implementation of GETs and advanced conductors could help shore up vulnerabilities facing our existing grid. A 2023 Brattle report suggests that utilizing GETs nationwide could reduce electricity congestion on the grid by 40 percent. GETs can also lower the risk of outages and electrical fires using sensors that allow adjustments as the weather changes and demand fluctuates. GETs help to onboard new clean power generation to the grid. For example, a 2024 assessment by RMI found that within the Central Atlantic and Upper Midwest power networks that make up the PJM region, utilization of GETs could lead to the onboarding of 6.6 GW of clean power while also bringing savings of $1 billion each year. 

Furthermore, GETs and advanced conductors strengthen the grid by utilizing existing infrastructure, reducing the need for new transmission lines. Data from our research report on federal transmission permitting shows that the evaluated lines took an average of 4.3 years for the evaluated lines to complete a federal Environmental Impact Statement. However, this dataset did not account for reconductored lines or those that could increase capacity by applying GETs. In contrast to the lengthy timelines for permitting new lines, advanced conductors can be operational in only 1-3 years and DOE reports that implementation of DLRs can take 3-12 months. These technologies are an obvious choice for quickly increasing capacity and interconnecting new renewable generation.

GETting going: The state of play for GETs

Compared to the U.S., worldwide usage of GETs is significantly more widespread. Transmission System Operators across Europe have successfully installed GETs in Belgium, France, the U.K., Germany, and Italy. A 2017 installation of DLRs on a line in Belgium resulted in a 30% increase in the electric current the line could sustain. In 2022, DLRs were installed in a line connecting the U.K. with offshore wind farms, which previously struggled to handle the full load supplied at peak times. Grid operators in England expected to see savings of $1.75 million and a capacity increase of nearly 45% as a result.

In the U.S., existing planning processes and utility incentive structures mean that much work remains to speed the implementation of GETs. Currently, utilities are strongly incentivized to  construct capital-intensive infrastructure but have minimal financial impetus to invest in GETs. This is because GETs offer a lower-cost solution to transmission needs and therefore lower profits for utilities and their shareholders. 

Although in their relative infancy domestically, GETs are beginning to be used for pilot projects nationwide. Reconductoring efforts by utilities and energy companies are occurring as well. As viable and relatively fast clean infrastructure solutions, policies should support the widespread implementation of these tools. Several proposed and enacted policy fixes suggest creative mechanisms to incentivize the growth and rollout of these technologies. 

At the federal level, The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee’s new Order 1920 – which includes a provision mandating that grid operators consider GETs when conducting long-term transmission planning processes – is a significant regulatory endorsement of GETs. The White House also recently announced its intention to provide competitive grants through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership (GRIP) program, to fund capacity upgrades to 100,000 miles of transmission lines over the next five years.

On the legislative front, the Advancing Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs) Act is a promising indication of increased support for GETs deployment. The bill, introduced in the Senate by Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Angus King (I-Maine), proposes a shared-savings program to motivate developers and utilities to implement GETs. If passed, the project’s costs would be reimbursed, and the savings from the more efficient technology would be shared between the developer and ratepayers.This could help address the previously mentioned financial disincentive for utilities.

States are also exploring methods to advance GETs. Several bills provide models for encouraging increased use by local utilities. Minnesota’s legislature recently passed HF 5247, which advances GETs by incorporating them into local transmission planning processes and mandating that major utilities evaluate their use for overburdened lines. In California, state policymakers are considering a proposal requiring the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to study the feasibility and cost savings of GETs, while ensuring the state is on track to meeting its transmission and decarbonization goals. Similarly, Virginia legislators passed H.B. 862 earlier this year, requiring utilities in the state to consider GETs in their integrated resource plans. Meanwhile, Montana has led the way in advanced conductor legislation, recently passing an act that would grant the state PUC capacity to include upgraded lines in the rate base.


GETs and advanced conductors are essential for promoting energy efficiency and leveraging innovative technologies to improve our aging grid. Efficient and reliable power is critical for our economy’s decarbonization. While current incentive and regulatory structures have hindered widespread implementation, supporting legislative and administrative priorities that advance the use of GETs and advanced conductors will significantly contribute to a cleaner and more efficient grid.