Research indicates that utilities and coordinating groups in the United States and Canada are reporting 65,420 miles of new and upgraded transmission lines over the next eight years. These projects will upgrade electric reliability as well as connect new sources of power generation – much of which is wind energy – to those populated areas that need it in the North American grid. So far, announced estimates suggest the projects could reach over $170 billion by 2020.

There are also significant associated markets that will benefit. Almost every major transmission line project will require enhanced or new substations and transformers, a market that could itself easily exceed $40 billion.

Ameren and American Electric Power round out the top five companies actively planning a large number of line upgrades and additions. Zoom out on the market, and the top 30 owners alone report that they could spend $115.4 billion on transmission line improvements, representing 58,921 miles of line in the U.S. and Canada, not including the large segment of supplementary substation work by 2020.

C Three's Market Forecast provides profiles of the 60 largest transmission line projects planned in North America, including segments of the Energy Gateway Projects in the northwestern U.S., CREZ development for renewable energy in Texas, and transmission reinforcements in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Details include voltage, length in miles, cost, substations and endpoints, and maps are provided for each major project.

Data from the Market Forecast and Top 60 list is culled from The C Three Group's North American Electric Transmission Project Database. One of C Three's four core industry databases, the Transmission Project Database contains over 13,000 transmission line and substation projects tracked from early development through completion.

Since Jan. 15, 2012, The C Three Group, LLC has added $2.581 billion and 3,701 miles of new and upgraded transmission line and substation projects to its North American Electric Transmission Project Database reflecting the continuous updating of the database.

"We use the data reported by utilities and coordinating groups to build our Market Forecast from the bottom up. Interpreting cost and length figures by completion date and voltage into aggregated tables and charts requires experience and industry knowledge. Additionally, market growth, project delays, and reconfigurations require constant market monitoring. Because of this fluidity, we will be updating this our Market Forecast every six months for the foreseeable future," said Jean Reaves Rollins, founder of The C Three Group.