MISO approves $2.6 billion in electricity transmission projects

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 355 views 

Board members for electricity transmission organization Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) approved 353 transmission projects, representing an investment of $2.6 billion, as part of the organization’s 2017 expansion plan to improve energy access and reliability.

Upgrades included in the plan are expected to ensure reliability of the regional grid, connect new generation sources, improve market efficiency and decrease congestion between MISO and neighboring regions. The plan includes five interregional targeted market efficiency projects (TMEP) that were also approved by the board of directors for electricity transmission organization PJM Interconnection. TMEPs are low-cost, high-value transmission projects benefiting customers and improving seams in coordination with MISO’s neighbor.

“These innovated, low-cost projects involve quick-implementation upgrades to reduce congestion across MISO-PJM seams,” said Jennifer Curran, vice president of System Planning and Seams Coordination. “These projects can be accomplished with upgrades to existing equipment and offer positive value for customers.”

The approved projects include upgrades to existing facilities along the MISO-PJM seam in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

In early 2018, MISO board members also look to approve the Hartburg-Sabine Junction 500-kilovolt market efficiency project in Texas, and the project is part of the organization’s 2017 expansion plan. In November, MISO asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve a new zone for Texas for cost allocation of market efficiency projects after the Public Utilities Commission of Texas and Louisiana Public Service Commission requested MISO to do this. A decision on the proposal is expected in January. After the MISO board approves the project, it will be eligible for the organization’s competitive developer selection process.

“MISO is pleased to recommend the Hartburg-Sabine project, as it will bring economic benefits to a transmission constrained area of Texas,” said Kent Fonvielle, executive director for the MISO South region.

The organization developed its expansion plan through discussions with MISO stakeholders, including its members, regulators, customers and neighboring systems. Since 2003, $15.4 billion in planned expansion projects have been completed across the MISO footprint to enhance reliability, reduce congestion and enable public policy requirements like renewable portfolio standards.

“MISO’s planning efforts are designed to develop transmission plans that offer customers reliable access to the lowest-cost electric energy through markets,” Curran said. “We are pleased with this robust plan that supports those goals and also enables the interconnection of more than 5,000 megawatts of generation through new transmission needs.”

MISO, a nonprofit based in Carmel, Ind., operates high-voltage power lines in 15 U.S. states, including Arkansas, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. It was established in 2001 as the first regional transmission organization in the United States and has control centers in Carmel, Eagan, Minn., and Little Rock.