ORIGINAL REPORTING: How To Build The Wires New Energy Needs
3 transmission projects that illustrate the importance in modernizing the grid; Big power line expansions in ERCOT, SPP and MISO are helping shape a cleaner energy system, but building them was a slog
Herman K. Trabish, June 24, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: These projects could serve as templates for the kind of infrastructure investment planned by the new the new administration.
The ongoing shift in utility generation to natural gas and renewables is only possible because of new transmission. As power providers work to shape lower-carbon portfolios and meet state renewables mandates, new lines managed by the nation’s grid operators are delivering power from those new resources. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) $17 billion Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) project, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) Priority and Balanced Portfolio projects, and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Multi Value Projects are examples of how new transmission can facilitate the transition to a modern grid.
The CREZ build was the foundation for record-setting wind growth because it brought abundant West Texas winds to high-demand load centers. The SPP build-out has allowed the system operator to enhance reliability, add over 10 GW of new wind capacity, and increase customer savings. Investment between 2012 and 2014 is expected to return benefits exceeding $16.6 billion over the 40-year life of the system — a benefit-to cost ratio of 3.5 to 1. And MISO’s 17 Multi Value Projects will eventually allow the system operator to add 25 GW of new wind capacity and deliver $13.1 billion to $49.6 billion in net benefits over the next 20 years to 40 years, which is 2.6 to 3.9 times more benefit than cost… click here for more