Regional planning

In 2020ATC 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, at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and on regulatory rules. To help anticipate future demands on the transmission grid, 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 Reliability First Corporation (RF). ATC participates in regional transmission assessments conducted by the RF Transmission Performance Subcommittee (TPS). ATC also participates in the Coordinated Seasonal Assessments (CSA) conducted by MISO.

MISO Planning Process

The MISO North region is divided into three sub-regions for planning purposes: West, Central, and East. The ATC footprint falls within the West sub-region. ATC participates in a variety of MISO planning processes including the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP). The MTEP process investigates transmission expansion for long term, short term, and targeted needs. 

Long-term studies are primarily value-based economic studies with a ten- to twenty-year horizon. Transmission projects are proposed based on an economic view of future years. 

Short-term planning looks at 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 MISO by individual Transmission Owners. Need drivers and alternatives are then verified through the MTEP process and studies. 

Targeted studies investigate specific issues in both the long- and short-term. The short-term, targeted and long-term economic studies follow an approximately 18-month planning cycle. 

MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP) reliability and economic studies

ATC Planning staff actively participates in the MTEP reliability and economic studies. These activities include: 

  • Ensuring ATC’s project information is comprehensive and complete when entered into the MISO project database, 
  • Participating in building and reviewing the annual MTEP power flow and PROMOD models, 
  • Correlating the needs identified in the MISO analyses with 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 Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) studies, like the Targeted Market Efficiency Project (TMEP) study, and other similar studies,
  • Ensuring that the appropriate cost allocation is identified for 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 and comments that help improve the MTEP process. 

ATC projects are entered into the MTEP database to provide stakeholders with a more comprehensive and complete understanding of ATC’s capital plan. Projects are entered into the database based on expected initial capital cost. Projects included in ATC’s portion of the MTEP project list can also be found in ATC’s 10-Year Assessment. 

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 RTOs, including PJM Interconnection (PJM) and Southern Power Pool (SPP). MISO and PJM coordinate and conduct market efficiency project studies. These analyses are reviewed by an inter‑regional planning stakeholder advisory committee, which typically examines economic projects that could both benefit RTOs and qualify for cross‑border cost sharing. 

MISO Market Constraints

Two of the five narrowly constrained areas (NCAs) identified in the MISO region are associated with ATC. ATC tracks the NCAs to assist in planning projects that alleviate congestion within the MISO market.