MISO board approves MTEP13, providing 317 new transmission projects

The Midcontinent ISO’s (MISO) Board of Directors on Dec. 12 approved MISO’s Transmission Expansion Plan 2013 (MTEP13), which provides 317 new projects, representing an incremental $1.48bn in transmission infrastructure investments through 2023.

Those investments, MISO added, are separated into three categories:

* 79 baseline reliability projects (BRP) totaling $372m that are required for the grid to continue to meet NERC reliability standards.

* Three generator interconnection projects (GIP) totaling $15m that allow for reliable connections of new generation to the transmission grid.

* 235 other projects totaling $1.1bn that address a wide range of needs, including support for lower voltage transmission systems and providing local economic benefits that are not considered market efficiency projects.

This marks the tenth comprehensive long-term regional plan for MISO’s electric grid, MISO said, adding that similar to the nine plans before it, MTEP13 was developed through an 18-month process that included dozens of meetings with stakeholders.

Since 2003, the MISO Transmission Expansion Planning process has approved $17.9bn of investment to promote system reliability, improve market efficiency, enable public policy mandates and allow the reliable integration of new generation resources, MISO said. More than $6.2bn in projects are already in service.

“This has been an incredibly successful program, with billions of dollars invested to build and maintain a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure,” MISO President and CEO John Bear said in the statement. “We look forward to another 10 years of ensuring energy reliability, creating increased market efficiencies and facilitating public policy objectives to address additional issues and goals identified through our stakeholder processes.”

According to the MTEP13 report, the 317 projects include AmerenIL’s “Turkey Hill-Cahokia Reinsulation to 345-kV and Cahokia 345/138-kV Transformer Replacement” project, which includes converting the Turkey Hill-Cahokia 138-kV line 1492 line to 345-kV operation – about 19 miles – in Illinois. The project’s estimated cost is $31.6m and its estimated in-service date is June 1, 2015.

Another approved project is ITC’s (NYSE:ITC) “ITCT Annual Wood Pole Replacement Program 2015,” which involves replacing aging wood poles with concrete poles or steel towers in Michigan at an estimated cost of $6m. The estimated in-service date for that project is Dec. 31, 2015.

Also approved is a project by Duke (NYSE:DUK) and IPL, the “DATC Project 1_South: Advance – Qualitech 345-kV, Qualitech – Royalton 138-kV project,” in Indiana, which involves a new 345-kV connection from new Advance to Qualitech, adjacent to the 138-kV connection from Qualitech – Royalton. The project’s estimated cost is $64.6m and its estimated in-service date is Dec. 31, 2022.

Among others, the report also listed the “NIPSCO G” project in Illinois and Indiana by NIPSCO, Commonwealth Edison and American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), which involves building the Wilton Center-Reynolds 345-kV line, building a new Gwynville 765/345 transformer and upgrading the Crete switch that goes to St John. Its estimated cost is $205m and its estimated in-service date is June 1, 2022.

Notable MTEP13 themes include heightened concern and ongoing study regarding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance, natural gas coordination and resource adequacy, MISO said. Another theme involved increased interregional planning through FERC Order 1000 and cross-border studies.

Key findings and activities from the MTEP13 planning cycle include a changing resource adequacy environment with the potential impact of current and proposed air regulations, MISO added, noting that recent assessments show the potential for a 3 GW to 7 GW capacity shortfall as early as 2016.

In discussing reliability analysis, MISO said that its studies include simulations to assess transmission reliability in the near and long term, using analytical models representing various system conditions two, five and 10 years out. MISO planners study reliability from a thermal perspective – making sure the transmission facilities do not overheat, and from voltage and dynamic perspectives – making sure the frequency remains stable.

On economic analysis, MISO said that developing future “what-if” scenarios and conducting capacity expansion analyses are necessary pre-requisites for such analysis. MISO said it develops models to identify least-cost generation portfolios needed to meet resource adequacy planning reserve margin requirements of the system for various future scenarios. Results of this year’s assessment for the business as usual future predicts the need for 24,900 MW of additional capacity for the MISO system between 2013 and 2028, while 12,200 MW of capacity is forecast to retire.

MISO also discussed MISO Midwest Regional Studies, noting that the “Manitoba Hydro Wind Synergy Study” dealt with Manitoba Hydro tie-lines and its purpose was to assess how Canadian hydro power can work with MISO wind to provide benefits to MISO.

The study found significant benefits from the addition of either an eastern 500-kV line between Dorsey, Manitoba and Duluth, Minn., or a western 500-kV line between Dorsey and Fargo, N.D./Moorhead, Minn., MISO said.

Among other things, MISO noted that it and PJM Interconnection launched a joint planning study in October 2012 to evaluate cross-border seams issues and identify transmission solutions that promote market efficiency. When completed in 2014, MISO said, the study may identify cross-border transmission projects.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.