Electric Transmission America (ETA), a transmission joint venture of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., has joined with American Transmission Co., Exelon Corp., NorthWestern Energy and MidAmerican Energy Co., a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., to sponsor a comprehensive study of the transmission needed in the Upper Midwest to support renewable energy development and to transport that energy to consumers in markets to the east.
The sponsors have retained Quanta Technology LLC to evaluate extra-high voltage transmission alternatives and provide recommendations for new transmission development in the Upper Midwest, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Quanta will conduct an analysis of transmission alternatives analyzing the impact and quantifying the economic benefits of several transmission options. The Strategic Midwest Area Transmission Study (SMARTransmission Study) is scheduled for completion in January 2010. Results will be shared with the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator and PJM Interconnection.
“A critical component of our nation’s approach to addressing climate change is the ability to harvest our most viable renewable generation resources. North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa have some of the richest renewable generation resources in the United States, and the clean energy potential in this region cannot be developed unless we build very efficient, high-capacity transmission to bring this energy east to population and electricity load centers,” said Lisa Barton, ETA president.
“The study sponsors collectively believe that an extra-high voltage transmission network in the Upper Midwest will provide significant economic, environmental and reliability benefits by ensuring access to new generation sources and strengthening the transmission system in the heart of the nation. This study will quantify those benefits and suggest the best transmission options for accessing the generation resources native to this region,” Barton said.
“The SMARTransmission Study is a major step in a process AEP began in December 2008 to develop extra-high voltage transmission in the region,” said Susan Tomasky, president – AEP Transmission. “Sponsoring a comprehensive transmission study that includes many of the utilities who could potentially be involved in transmission investments for this part of the country is an important step forward in ETA’s efforts to build the transmission that is critical to serve the future energy needs of our nation.”