NewEnergyNews: NEW TRANSMISSION – A BIG STEP TOWARD A MIDWEST ECONOMIC BOOM

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    NEW TRANSMISSION – A BIG STEP TOWARD A MIDWEST ECONOMIC BOOM

    In a move that would make T. Boone Pickens tingle, The Midwest Governor’s Association announced The Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative (UMTDI). It is a regional transmission planning effort aimed at bringing Pickens’ vision of the Midwest as “the Saudi Arabia of wind” one step closer to reality.

    The winds, Midwesterners know only too well, are there. Only 2 things are lacking: The wind turbines to turn the wind into electricity and (2) the wires to transfer the electricity from the sparsely-populated Midwestern plains to densely populated cities.

    Entrepreneurs from Texas
    (see TEXAS OILMEN WANT ENERGY POLICY WITH NEW ENERGY) to the Dakotas (see SOUTH DAKOTA GETS IN THE WIND GAME...) are now busy building the turbines at a record clip (see WIND COULD SAVE THE POLAR BEARS...)

    The wires will be a little more challenging. Technical challenges are hard. NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) challenges are harder. This move by the Governors is a thrilling recognition of the need for a coordinated effort to make it happen.

    And when it happens, the Midwest will undergo an unprecedented economic expansion not unlike oil country boom times back in the day, when the drillers brought in a gusher.


    click to enlarge

    Gov. Pawlenty announces regional electric transmission planning to support wind energy
    19 September 2008 (HometownSource)

    WHO
    Michael Rounds, Governor, South Dakota & Chairman, Midwest Governor’s Association; Tim Pawlenty, Governor, Minnesota; Jim Doyle, Governor, Wisconsin;
    Iowa Chet Culver, Governor, Iowa; John Hoeven, Governor, North Dakota; Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO)

    WHAT
    The Midwest Governor’s Association announced The Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative (UMTDI), a regional transmission planning effort.

    click to enlarge

    WHEN
    - 2007: Pawlenty signed Minnesota’s Renewable Electricity Standard requiring the state’s utilities to obtain 25% of their power by 2025.
    - October, 2008: First meeting of UMTDI to create a project timeline, scope statement, work plan, and to identify stakeholders.
    - 2008-09: UMTDI will determine and allocate costs of the region.
    - 2009: Results of various MISO studies on transmission
    - After 2009: UMTDI to develop a concrete plan or tariff proposal for MISO.

    WHERE
    UMTDI is Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota

    WHY
    UMTDI will (1) promote regional electric transmission investment and cost sharing, (2) will specifically identify wind generation resources, transmission projects and infrastructure needed to support those resources in a cost-effective manner, (3) will coordinate efforts among state regulatory agencies, transmission companies, utilities, independent generation owners and other key stakeholders, (4) will work closely with MISO

    For wind to achieve its fullest service, the U.S. will need a lot of new transmission. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Governor Pawlenty: “The time is right for planning and coordination between these states in the Midwest ISO…As states in the region increase their use of wind energy, planning on how best to locate wind farms and other renewable sources and build the necessary transmission infrastructure to support them is crucial.”
    - Governor Rounds: “This effort complements and meshes very well with ongoing initiatives at MISO and the Midwest Governors Association…”
    - Governor Doyle: “Coordinated transmission planning centered on renewable energy is critical to providing a diverse supply of affordable, clean energy to our region…The coordinated transmission planning we are announcing today matches the recommendations made in a report by Wisconsin’s Global Warming Task Force.”
    - Governor Culver: “I'm committed to Iowa's continued production of renewable energy…This collaboration on electric transmission development continues and strengthens our goal of making Iowa the renewable energy capital of the United States. A critical issue is cost sharing, and I am confident that this group of like-minded states can work through that difficult issue.”
    - Governor Hoeven: “The positive economic implications of sound energy planning are obvious…North Dakota and the four other states involved in this initiative stand to gain from transmission investments that are timely, well-designed, and regionally coordinated.”

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