The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator’s (MISO) board of directors acted last week to approve its plan to tap into the region’s huge wind resources and strengthen the reliability of the region’s grid. Deemed the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan 2011 (MTEP11), the portfolio of new transmission projects will allow more ratepayers to tap into one of the cheapest forms of new electric generation reports North American Wind Power.

The $6.5 billion investment in new transmission is needed to maintain system reliability, improve market efficiency, and allow for the integration of reliable, new generation sources. The project list includes 16 multi-value projects (MVPs) – lines that provide a range of regional benefits and are paid for through broad cost allocation.

In total, the portfolio will deliver more than double the return on investment for the region. For retail customers, analysts estimate that an $11 per year investment will yield $23 in savings on a typical electricity bill.

Other benefits of MISO’s transmission plan include:

  • The creation of up to 39,800 construction and 74,000 total annual jobs from the portfolio of multi-value projects.
  • The creation of $15.5 billion to $49.2 billion in net-present-value economic benefits over a 20- to 40-year time frame, according to MISO.
  • The generation of up to $49.2 billion in benefits from the use of lower-cost generation and reductions in energy wasted through transmission losses.

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