SPP approves transmission plan for 2030

The SPP approved construction of $176 million in new transmission projects needed to maintain reliable supplies of electricity across the region

Little Rock, Ark., January 26, 2011 — In keeping with its 2010 Strategic Plan to build a robust transmission system and develop efficient energy markets, the Southwest Power Pool board of directors approved the following items:

* Construction of $176 million in new transmission projects needed to maintain reliable supplies of electricity across the region

* A strategic transmission “roadmap” for 2030
* Negotiating with vendors to build new energy markets

The Integrated Transmission Planning process is a new and innovative method of assessing the SPP footprint’s near- and long-term transmission needs to create a cost-effective, flexible and robust electric grid.

Along with SPP’s recently approved Highway/Byway cost allocation methodology, the ITP promotes transmission investment that will improve electric reliability, bring economic benefit to SPP’s members, and help meet public policy needs.

While transitioning to the ITP, SPP published the 2010 SPP Transmission Expansion Plan, which identified $176 million in new transmission projects that need to be built in 2011-2021 to “keep the lights on.” With the board’s approval of these projects, SPP will soon instruct utilities to begin constructing these transmission upgrades.

SPP completed its first ITP 20-Year Assessment, which identified grid upgrades projected to be needed by 2030 to accommodate possible future scenarios and provide a strong transmission grid.

“In the electricity business there are many uncertainties about the future. Will the federal government put a tax on carbon or require all states to obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources? At what rate will demand increase? These issues and many others impact ‘traffic flows’ on the electric grid,” said SPP president and CEO Nick Brown. “A well-planned, robust transmission grid gives us the flexibility to move energy from diverse generating resources to where it’s needed across the region and beyond. Adding more ‘lanes’ to the transmission highway will improve our ability to provide the least-cost power to consumers and strengthen grid reliability sopower is always there when we need it.”

The 2010 ITP20 developed several transmission project portfolios and evaluated them on a number of metrics. The board selected a portfolio of transmission projects that will provide the much-needed “roadmap” for transmission expansion in the SPP region and guide future planning efforts and specific project needs.

The 2010 ITP20 Plan consists of 1,494 miles of 345 kV lines and 11 345 kV step-down transformers. The projects are estimated to bring benefits more than five times greater than the $1.8 billion engineering and construction cost by reducing members’ costs to generate and supply energy to customers.

Qualitative benefits include: providing the foundation for higher renewable energy levels, increasing competition and levelizing prices in SPP’s energy markets by providing access to more generation, increasing system reliability and efficiency, strengthening the ability to transport energy from/to other regions, reducing emissions, and using land responsibly.

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