ATC is energizing your future 

Every minute of every day, the people of ATC keep the power flowing. The energy of our people drives the resilience of our systems, ensuring ATC remains the vital connection between where power is generated and where it is needed. We are experts at what we do: planning, maintaining, operating and protecting the regional electric grid for the 5 million electric consumers in our service area that rely on us, every minute of every day.

A robust grid is a critical long-term enabler of reliable, affordable, sustainable, and secure energy for customers and communities. As a regional grid operator and the first multistate transmission-only utility in the nation, we are committed to maintaining a safe and reliable electric system in the Upper Midwest.  We provide non-discriminatory access for all forms of generation. We work closely with our local electric distribution customers to provide viable solutions and plan for a system that supports their needs – and the needs of their energy consumers. Public policy and concerns over climate change are advancing the transition of generation to renewables, which means we must continually develop appropriate and cost-effective system technologies to align with the evolving energy landscape.

We continue to work with MISO on the significant uptick in the generation-to-transmission requests now in the queue. As of mid-October, there are 121 proposed projects in the generation queue within our service area, totaling over 16.9 gigawatts of capacity. The massive influx of these projects within our service area requires in-depth analysis by our planners to ensure we have adequate electric system upgrades in place to interconnect these renewable generation resources. Meanwhile, the distribution-to-transmission requests from our customers remain strong, as does the addition of distributed energy resources. We are also seeing large new requests from major technology companies that will add unprecedented loads to our system and could transform the energy landscape. We anticipate meeting various regulatory requirements for all these projects, along with the solutions that support them.

To further stabilize electric reliability across the Upper Midwest, new electric grid infrastructure is needed to help move all forms of power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. MISO’s Board of Directors in July 2022 approved Tranche 1 of the Long-Range Transmission Plan projects, which will address the transformative changes of the generation fleet in the coming years. Our planners have been working with MISO for several months to assess these projects, including the timing and coordination of them with the G-T and D-T interconnection requests in the queue.

Planning for an evolving system also means that traditional pole and wire configurations are not always the optimal alternative. Battery storage, such as our forthcoming Waupaca Area Storage Project in Waupaca, Wis., is the first Storage as Transmission Only Asset in the MISO footprint and will be placed into service in 2024. We are also evaluating the use of advanced conductor technology that can carry more energy than a traditional high-voltage electric wire without requiring larger structures to support the high-voltage power lines.

We continue to study other technologies applicable to our system, including several proposed static synchronous compensators. These STATCOMs will be able to automatically control electric voltage and react within a fraction of a second to maintain voltage consistency on our system. Finally, industry trends, such as changes to the electric vehicle fleet along with distributed energy resources, are driving how we monitor baseload changes within our service area to apply the appropriate solution to the grid.

When studying new projects, we evaluate the condition of existing assets and aging infrastructure. Exposure to weather and avian species adversely impacts and deteriorates wooden poles. Conducting surveillance of structures in the air and on foot throughout our service area to identify these renewal projects is a perpetual and methodical process.

We also monitor and test substation equipment at regular intervals, assessing the risk of performance concerns and addressing those with the potential to cause outages or raise repair costs. Simultaneously, we see ongoing supply chain issues creating time constraints and cost pressures to maintain or replace assets. We take great strides in working to plan our asset renewals in ways that optimize our resources and minimize the lifecycle cost.

To efficiently monitor the functionality of our system and to meet the data needs of the future, we continue to invest in communications infrastructure. Evaluating our operations and maintenance costs for communication needs, such as control center communications or security, is a process that we strive to continuously improve upon.

Our evolving energy landscape is the basis for projects identified within this 10-year assessment. While the generation shift is occurring rapidly, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to our customers, our commitment to maintaining a safe and reliable electric grid, and our commitment to delivering value to our stakeholders.


Projections from past and current Transmission System Assessments

Specific Network Projects$0.4B$0.4B $0.6B$0.5B$1.0B
Regional Multi-Value Projects$0.2B$0.2B $0.2B $0.2B$0.1B
MISO Long Range Transmission Plan$0.0B$0.0B$0.0B$0.9B$0.9B
Asset Maintenance$1.7B$1.8B $2.2B$2.8B$3.4B
Generation Interconnection$0.3B$0.2B$0.6B$0.6B$0.8B
Other Capital Categories$0.6B$0.6B$0.2B$0.7B$1.2B
Total 10-Year Capital Cost **$2.9B/$3.6B$2.9B/$3.5B $3.5B/$4.2B $5.1B/$6.2B$6.6B/$8.1B
** = +10% / -10%, defines a range in our estimating to account for variability in project cost
Tom Dagenais

Director, System Planning

Jim Vespalec

Director, Asset Planning & Engineering