How to Move 57 Gigawatts
Oct 22, 2010 - Bill Opalka - renewablesbiz.com
It's not easy, but a transmission joint venture
A report for transmission needs in the Upper Midwest
was recently released by the joint-venture company
that wants to access tremendous wind resources.
Electric Transmission America (ETA), a transmission
joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric
Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company released
its Phase Two report for transmission needed to support
renewable energy development, primarily wind, in
the Upper Midwest.
ETA, along with several utilities and transmission
operators in the region are looking for ways to transmit
that generation to load centers to the east. For
years the so-called "Saudi Arabia of wind" has
had limited access to the major markets, starting
with Chicago and moving farther east.
The Strategic Midwest Area Renewable Transmission
Study (SMARTransmission Study) wanted to review alternate
routes for extra-high voltage transmission that could
support the integration of 56.8 gigawatts of nameplate
wind generation within North Dakota, South Dakota,
Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska,
Missouri, Michigan and Ohio.
The transmission alternatives chosen for economic
analysis during Phase 2 were determined during Phase
1 of the study.
Phase Two of the study determined that the conceptual
transmission overlays identified in the first phase
of the study would have similar economic and environmental
impacts. The alternatives include a conceptual overlay
that totals nearly 8,000 miles and uses primarily
765-kilovolt extra-high voltage (EHV) transmission
lines, one that totals over 7,600 miles and includes
both 765-kV and high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC)
lines, and one totaling more than 8,600 miles that
combines over 4,400 miles of 345- kV and 3,900 miles
of 765-kV transmission lines.
"Determining the level of transmission needed
to achieve the renewable energy goals of the Midwest
ISO states and their neighbors was the focus of this
landmark study. The SMARTransmission study evaluated
a variety of transmission options and presents three
conceptual transmission expansion plans that would
be capable of reliably transporting nearly 57 gigawatts
of wind-generated power to load centers in the eastern
part of the study area," said Lisa Barton, ETA
The SMARTransmission study's goal was to develop
a 20-year transmission plan that ensures reliable
electricity transport, provides an efficient transmission
system to integrate new generation and foster efficient
markets, minimizes environmental impacts, and supports
state and national energy policies.
The study was designed to incorporate a high level
of stakeholder input, including representatives from
investor-owned utilities, state utility commissions,
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, municipalities
and wind developers.
ETA is a joint venture between subsidiaries of AEP
and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company to build
and own electric transmission assets. The joint venture
is a 50-50 partnership organized to identify and
invest in high-voltage transmission projects (345
kV or higher) located in North America outside of
the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
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