In 2015, ATC has been involved in various planning efforts that address regional, inter-regional and Eastern Interconnection-wide needs that could impact our transmission system. ATC continues to monitor and gauge the impact of changing energy policy on Capitol Hill and at FERC and on regulatory rules, such as EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide emission rules under Sec. 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). To help anticipate future demands on the transmission grid of these changes, ATC undertakes internal analyses and participates in regional studies.
Regional Transmission Assessments
ATC is a member of two regional reliability organizations, the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) and the ReliabilityFirst Corporation (RF). ATC participates in regional transmission assessments conducted by the MRO Transmission Assessment Subcommittee (TAS), and the RF Transmission Performance Subcommittee (TPS). ATC also participates in the Coordinated Seasonal Assessments (CSA) conducted by MISO.
MISO Planning Process
ATC participates in a variety of MISO planning processes. The MTEP process has adopted an approach that investigates transmission expansions for the long term, short term and for targeted issues/needs. The MISO North region is divided into three sub-regions for planning purposes: western, central and eastern. The ATC footprint falls within the western sub-region. MISO added a Southern region (made up of the Entergy companies and other utilities) to its footprint in late 2013.
The long-term studies are primarily value-based economic studies looking into the ten- to twenty-year horizon. Conceptual transmission overlays are proposed based on a value/economic view of future years utilizing an array of assumptions. This approach is often considered a “top-down” approach. The short-term planning looks into the five- to ten-year horizon and is thus primarily driven by Transmission Owners’ reliability needs and compliance with NERC reliability standards. To date, the projects that address short-term reliability needs have been proposed to the MISO by individual Transmission Owners. Need drivers and alternatives are then verified through the MTEP process and studies. This approach is often considered a “bottom-up” approach. The targeted studies investigate specific issues and the time frame can be between long- and short-term. The short-term and targeted studies typically follow a one-year planning cycle. The long-term economic studies thus far follow a two-year planning cycle.
MISO Transmission Expansion Plan 2015 (MTEP15) reliability and economic studies
ATC Strategic Projects staff actively participates in the MISO MTEP15 bottom-up reliability and economic studies. These activities include:
- Ensuring ATC’s project information is in the MISO project database,
- Participating in building/reviewing the annual MTEP powerflow and PROMOD models,
- Correlating the needs identified in the MISO analyses with the specific ATC projects,
- Reviewing and commenting on MTEP study results to ensure successful inclusion of the ATC projects in MTEP Appendix A in a timely manner,
- Actively participating in the Cross Border Top Congested Flowgate study and other targeted studies
- Ensuring the appropriate cost allocation is identified for those ATC projects eligible for regional cost sharing,
- Answering questions related to ATC projects at the West Sub-regional Planning Meetings (SPMs) and other stakeholder forums, and
- Providing suggestions/comments that help improve the MTEP process.
ATC has adopted a guideline for placing projects into MTEP appendices based on the projects status and in-service date. The guideline is based on typical lead times for projects. Lead times change based on regulatory filings and/or long procurement time equipment being involved. ATC provisional projects are either withheld from MTEP or submitted to appendix B; ATC proposed projects are submitted to appendix B or A; ATC planned projects are submitted to appendix A.
Other MISO planning activities
Our planning staff participates in various technical and policy discussions and provides future direction for MTEP activities. We also are involved in joint planning studies with neighboring regional transmission organizations, including PJM and SPP. MISO and PJM coordinated, conducted and analyzed several market efficiency project studies. This analysis is reviewed by an inter‑regional planning stakeholder advisory committee and typically examines economic projects that could benefit both RTOs and qualify for cross‑border cost‑sharing.
MISO Market Constraints
Two of the five narrowly constrained areas identified in the MISO region are associated with ATC, and we continue to track these as well as other constraints.
Such tracking assists in planning projects that alleviate congestion within the MISO market. The Badger Coulee project should help alleviate congestion on the Minnesota to Wisconsin Exports Interface, which has been one of the most significant constraints for ATC over the last several years.