SPP, MISO identify 7 cross-seam transmission projects that could unlock up to 53 GW of new generation
The SPP-MISO initiative grew out of a problem plaguing grid operators around the country: interconnection queues that are clogged with hundreds of requests from companies seeking to connect new generation sources to the grid.
It is increasingly difficult to interconnect such generation – mostly low-cost renewables in areas far from customer load centers – along the border between SPP and MISO that runs roughly from western Minnesota to northwestern Louisiana, according to the draft study, released Jan. 27.
In response, SPP and MISO launched the Joint Targeted Interconnection Queue study in 2020 to see if new transmission could relieve grid congestion to allow potential wind farms and other generating resources to come online.
The study took a novel approach of considering whether the transmission needed to unlock the generation interconnection queues could also provide economic and reliability benefits to transmission customers, SPP and MISO said in the draft study.
The grid operators estimate that their recommended portfolio of 345-kV projects would deliver $724.2 million and $246.7 million of “adjusted production cost” savings to customers in the MISO and SPP footprints, respectively, producing a 0.56 benefit-to-cost ratio, indicating the electricity cost savings would make up about half the cost of the projects.
In separate analysis, SPP found the seven transmission projects could allow for up to 53 GW of generation interconnection in an area around the SPP-MISO border while the Midcontinent grid operator estimated the transmission would facilitate 28 GW in the same area, Andy Witmeier, MISO director of resource utilization, said in an interview Wednesday. MISO used more conservative assumptions in its analysis compared with SPP, Witmeier said.
The potential transmission projects are in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, states rich in wind potential.