MISO approves $10B worth of transmission projects in Midwest
On July 25, the MISO Board of Directors unanimously approved a significant portfolio of long-range transmission projects. The $10.3 billion investment includes 18 transmission projects in MISO’s Midwest Subregion, according to a press release from MISO's Carmel, Ind., location. This Tranche 1 portfolio is the first of four planned tranches in MISO’s Long-Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) process. "These critical projects are needed to begin to integrate new generation resources outlined in MISO member and states plans and increase resiliency in the face of severe weather events," the release states, indicating the switch towards renewables is underway in the Midwest.
This will delight many, but cause worry about reliability for plenty others, especially more vulnerable sections of the grid, but MISO is championing it as a major accomplishment already.
“We appreciate the spirit of collaboration and the hard work that MISO members and stakeholders have invested in these projects and look forward to continued discussion around future tranches,” said MISO’s Chief Executive Officer John Bear. “We also recognize the effort and strong support for LRTP from various regulators and policymakers in the states – including state utility commissions and governors.”
Analyses conducted as part of the LRTP initiative indicate the Tranche 1 benefits are "conservatively well in excess of costs," MISO said, reporting a benefit-to-cost ratio of at least 2.2 for all resource zones in the MISO Midwest Subregion. Benefit metrics include congestion and fuel savings, avoided capital costs of local resource investment, avoided transmission investment, resource adequacy savings, avoided risk of load shed and decarbonization. The cost allocation approach for this portfolio has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
“MISO’s LRTP process is focused on working collaboratively with our diverse stakeholder community to design the transmission system needed for continued reliable and resilient operations,” said Clair Moeller, MISO’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “These projects will support the reliable, affordable transition of the generation fleet.”
“While Tranche 1 represents an important start, further work is needed to ensure reliability,” said Aubrey Johnson, MISO’s vice president of system planning. “Tranche 2 will focus on the MISO Midwest Subregion, Tranche 3 in MISO South, and Tranche 4 will address the limitations on power exchange between the MISO Midwest and South Subregions.”
MISO used existing transmission corridors to plan this portfolio of projects, which it says can reduce the impact on local areas and communities, lower construction costs, and shorten implementation time. "LRTP is an integral component of MISO’s Response to the Imperative — the shared responsibility that states, utilities, members , and MISO have to address the complex challenges driven by generation fleet change and extreme weather events increasingly threatening electric reliability in the region," the press release concluded.