Regional planning

Planning initiatives increasingly focus on regional and economic benefitsPlanning

ATC is involved with several planning efforts that address regional, inter-regional and Eastern Interconnection-wide needs that could impact grid operations. Proposed legislation regarding renewable energy developments and greenhouse gas emission reductions continues to evolve at the federal level. ATC monitors these discussions and continues to undertake internal analyses and participate in regional studies to anticipate the future demands on the transmission system.

Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative

In 2010, the Department of Energy granted $16 million to a group of registered planning authorities in the Eastern Interconnection (generally from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains) to form a collaborative to develop transmission expansion options under different scenarios. Conducted in two phases, the collaborative issued two reports, including both alternating current and direct current solutions, which were analyzed using North American Electric Reliability Corp. reliability criteria and traditional planning tools.

Currently, the EIPC organization has agreed to undertake two additional efforts. One is to fund and perform a continuing analysis on interconnectionwide transmission planning. The effort involves combining existing transmission plans from across the interconnection, looking for any areas that might benefit from more strategic transmission expansion and performing reliability analysis for scenarios developed with stakeholder input. This is a two-year effort with model development and scenario definition in 2013 and additional reliability analysis in 2014.

The second is a gas-electric coordination analysis that is being undertaken by a subset of the EIPC planning authorities to determine if, with significant numbers of natural gas plants anticipated, failures on the natural gas system will cause electric reliability issues. While ATC is not participating actively in this effort, we are monitoring its progress.

FERC Order 1000

ATC has continued to participate in stakeholder discussions to develop MISO’s compliance plans with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000. Issued in 2011, Order 1000 advances requirements in four major areas: participation in a regional transmission planning process that produces a regional plan and considers needs driven by public policy, improvements in inter-regional planning, removal of federal rights of first refusal for regionally cost-shared projects, and establishment of principle-based regional and inter-regional cost-allocation methodologies. Much of the MISO stakeholder discussion has centered on which types of projects will be open to competition and how developers will be selected for those projects.

In its regional compliance plan that was filed with FERC in October, MISO proposed a competitive bidding process for market efficiency projects and Multi‑Value Projects. FERC conditionally approved MISO’s compliance plan in March 2013, with an additional compliance filing due in mid-2013. ATC also was required to comply with the Order 1000 requirements related to considering transmission needs driven by public policy requirements in local planning processes. ATC in October 2012 submitted an initial compliance plan, which FERC conditionally approved in March 2013. ATC also submitted a compliance filing in 2013.

Order 1000 also requires MISO to coordinate its planning with PJM and other neighboring Regional Transmission Organizations and transmission providers, as well as develop cost-allocation methodologies with each neighbor for inter-regional projects. Proposed inter-regional compliance plans for MISO and most of its other neighboring regions were filed with FERC in July 2013.

MISO Transmission Expansion Planning

MISO planning studies address long- and short‑term issues as well as targeted needs. Long‑term studies primarily look at value-based options that provide economic benefits in the 10- to 20‑year horizon. Short‑term planning is primarily driven by transmission owners’ reliability and NERC compliance needs in a five- to 10‑year period.


Our staff participates in short‑term planning by contributing project information, helping build and review planning models, and correlating the needs identified in the MISO analyses with specific ATC projects.

Market constraints

Two of the three narrowly constrained areas identified within the MISO footprint are in our service area. While congestion has eased within the Wisconsin and Upper Michigan System, we continue to see congestion in north to south flows between WUMS into the Commonwealth Edison system. The Pleasant Prairie‑Zion Energy Center MVP is designed to relieve that congestion and provide greater access to economical sources of generation.

Northern Area Study

Last year, MISO began an economic evaluation of a number of transmission issues in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Manitoba, Canada, due in part to uncertainty or changing conditions regarding hydroelectric imports, potential generation retirements and multiple transmission line proposals in the region. The study, which concluded earlier this year, determined that large‑scale transmission expansion is not cost-effective based on MISO-wide production cost savings under current business-as-usual conditions that were modeled. The study was not designed to address transmission system needs strictly for reliability purposes.