To Reach E. Coast, Midwest Utilities Consider Mega-lines

by | Aug 19, 2009

wind-turbines-on-hill2To help sell renewable energy to power-hungry East Coast cities, a group of Midwest utilities is developing a study on the feasibility of adding extra-high voltage lines. The goal is to get electricity to customers from low-population areas in the upper Midwest where wind and other renewables are plentiful.

The Strategic Midwest Area Renewable Transmission Study (SMARTransmission Study) is already underway. It will evaluate the market potential for using 765-kilovolt lines and recommend new projects in North and South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to a press release.

The utilities are working with Quanta Technology LLC on the study. Quanta will explore alternative transmission methods. The study should be complete in early 2010.

“Harvesting this Midwestern wind potential and bringing the resulting electric generation to market requires an upgrade to the transmission system in the heart of the nation,” said John Procario, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Transmission Co., one of the co-sponsors of the study. “Studying the transmission options at the regional level is key to identifying the most economic options.”

The study will generally look at how new transmission facilities should interconnect with the existing grid. It is not intended to specifically identify geographic routes for the lines.

Sponsors of the study include:

  • American Transmission Co.
  • American Electric Power
  • MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.
  • Exelon Corp.
  • NorthWestern Energy
  • MidAmerican Energy Co.

Various other projects to develop high-voltage lines to bring renewables to market are under way throughout the country. Click here for details.

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