MISO issues RFP for Duff–Coleman 345-kV project in southern Indiana

The Midcontinent ISO (MISO) on Jan. 8 issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking parties interested in developing the 345-kV Duff–Coleman transmission line, which would be the first competitive transmission project to be developed in the MISO region.

The project, which was approved by the MISO board as part of the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP) in December 2015, would extend from the Duff substation in southern Indiana to the Coleman substation in Kentucky, crossing the Ohio River, and has a planned in-service date of Jan. 21, 2021.

The Duff substation, in Dubois, Ind., is owned by Vectren’s (NYSE:VVC) Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana, while the Coleman substation, in Hancock County, Ky., is owned by Big Rivers Electric Corporation, according to the RFP.

Proposals in response to the RFP are due July 6, and following a review of the proposals, MISO intends to announce the developer of the project no later than Dec. 30, MISO said in a Jan. 8 statement.

MISO said in the RFP that it intends to hold several conference calls in the spring to address questions about the RFP, and an informational meeting in Eagan, Minn., on Jan. 26 will be webcast.

When the MISO board approved the MTEP in December, it listed the Duff–Coleman facility as a $67m project.

Entities must be a MISO-Qualified Transmission Developer in order to submit a proposal to the RFP, and the document calls for an initial deposit of $100,000 for each proposal filed. To date, 48 entities are qualified to engage in the MISO competitive transmission process, MISO said in the statement.

Big Rivers has proposed a related transmission enhancement in Kentucky, and the Duff–Coleman project is designed to strengthen the 345-kV backbone in the region, with PJM Interconnection (PJM) working to address reliability issues around American Electric Power’s (NYSE:AEP) Rockport generation facility, MISO said in descriptions of the Duff–Coleman project.

While the Duff–Coleman project will involve elements being addressed by MISO and PJM, it is not an interregional project, a MISO spokesperson told TransmissionHub last December.

In the RFP, MISO said that the Duff–Coleman project “may be affected by a new transmission interconnection between MISO and PJM,” since PJM is pursuing a project involving a new 345-kV line from AEP’s Rockport substation in Spencer County, Ind., to a point to be determined in coordination with the selected developer of the Duff–Coleman line, as well as with AEP, MISO and PJM. Coordination of the transmission interconnection “must involve” Vectren and Big Rivers, including final configurations for fiber-optic communications channels associated with the line, the RFP said.

Following extensive work with stakeholders to develop the competitive transmission process, “MISO is ready to engage in a fair process to select a developer for Duff-Coleman,” Priti Patel, regional executive for the MISO North region, said in the statement. “Today’s RFP will help MISO evaluate developers’ proposals in terms of certainty, specificity, risk mitigation and cost.”

Any entity submitting a proposal deemed to be deficient will have a single “proposal cure period” of 10 business days from the date of notification of deficiency to submit information to satisfy the RFP requirements, the RFP said. Proposals that are not complete at the end of the “proposal cure period” will be deemed invalid and will not be evaluated further, with the deposit refunded, MISO said.

MISO said its evaluation criteria for proposals will involve four general aspects, with project implementation capabilities weighted at 35% in the criteria, costs and reasonably descriptive facility design weighted at 30%, operations maintenance, repair and replacement capabilities weighted at 30% and planning process participation weighted at 5%. In using that criteria, MISO said it will look for projects that provide a high degree of certainty and predictability, reflect the lowest risk to the success of the project and meet requirements at the lowest overall cost.

MISO said that the RFP does not constitute a commitment to enter into any contract or move forward with the project, and that it may decline to accept any or all proposals that do not meet the tariff requirements set out for the project.

MISO said in the RFP that it “may cancel the project and withdraw this RFP at any time in accordance with the tariff” and MISO’s business practice manual.