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Studies and Reports > 2017 MN Biennial Report > Transmission Studies


Transmission Projects Report 2017
Chapter 3: Transmission Studies


3.0 Transmission Studies

3.1  Introduction

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission requires that the utilities include in each Biennial Report a "list of studies that have been completed, are in progress, or are planned that are relevant to each of the inadequacies identified" in the Report.  Minn. Rules part 7848.1300, item F.  Since the 2011 Biennial Report, the utilities have broken this chapter up into several subsections, each addressing different types of studies.  The same arrangement for reporting the studies is continued in this 2017 Report.

Section 3.2 describes a number of studies that have been completed that either address expansion of the transmission network to provide for generation expansion, in particular renewable energy, or address local inadequacy issues (noted with a Tracking Number).  Section 3.3 describes ongoing regional studies that focus on expansion of the bulk electric system to address broad regional reliability issues and support expansion of renewable in the upper Midwest.  Section 3.4 focuses on ongoing load serving studies that are attempting to resolve local inadequacy issues.  Section 3.6 is a new section describing certain studies at the national level that are underway.

The MPUC rules state that the utilities must include in the Biennial Report a copy of "the most recent regional load and capability report of the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool" (MAPP).  Minn. Rule part 7848.1300, item B.  As the utilities reported in the 2011 Report, however, the Midcontinent Independent Transmission Operator (MISO) has taken over most of the planning that occurs in this part of the country.  MAPP has not prepared a Load & Capability Report since May 2009.  MAPP, in fact, discontinued its existence in October 2015

3.2   Completed Studies

The following studies were completed since the last Biennial Report was submitted in November 2015.  Previously completed studies can be found in previous Biennial Reports and are not repeated here.  Where specific transmission projects have been identified, a Tracking Number is provided.  The Tracking Number identifies the year the project was first considered for inclusion in a Biennial Report and the zone where the project is located.

Study Title

 Year Completed

Utility Lead

Description

Interconnection System Impact Study of MPC02100

2015

MPC

Minnkota performed the Interconnection System Impact Study of MPC02100. It was completed on December 29, 2015. Most impacts required minor upgrades, but a substation on Center – Mandan 230 kV (called Roughrider) and an uprate from Roughrider to Mandan 230 kV were required. The System Impact Study is posted on OASIS.

System Impact Study of Minnkota Power Cooperative Generation to Native Load – Appendix I Update for Approvals and Contingent Items

2015

MPC

Minnkota updated Appendix I ("Study Approval and Discussion of Contingent Items") in the previous System Impact Study of Minnkota Power Generation to Native Load. This study focused on securing Transmission Service on Minnkota Power Cooperative's system for Langdon Wind, Ashtabula Wind, and Young 2 (specifically for moving it off of the DC system, and onto the AC system for the duration of ownership transfers between MPC and MP).    The System Impact Study is posted on OASIS.

System Impact Study of Minnkota Power Cooperative Generation to the MISO Border

2015

MPC

Minnkota performed the System Impact Study for Minnkota Power Generation to the MISO Border. It was completed on August 26, 2015. Only two transmission lines were impacted in the study and uprates were already planned, and those lines were in North Dakota. Transmission Service has been granted with uprates in-service. The System Impact Study is posted on OASIS.

System Impact Study for MPC02100 Network Service and Service to the MISO Border

2016

MPC

Minnkota performed the System Impact Study for MPC02100 Network Service and Service to the MISO Border. It was completed on February 11, 2016. Two Minnkota transmission lines were impacted in the study and must be uprated in order to grant the requested Transmission Service, including the Jamestown-Buffalo 345 kV line and the Roughrider-Mandan 230 kV line. The Jamestown-Buffalo 345 kV line uprate was already planned for TSR #81607456 (previously #81022904), so that upgrade was already put through Facility Study and uprated. A Facility Study was performed for the Roughrider-Mandan 230 kV line, and it was uprated also. The System Impact Study is posted on OASIS.

GNTL Short Circuit Study

2015

MP

Assessment of breaker interrupting capability for post-GNTL short circuit levels; Blackberry Breaker Replacements (2017-NE-N22)

North Shore Loop Comprehensive Plan

2015

MP

Develop a comprehensive plan and staged approach for transmission expansion in the area between Duluth, Taconite Harbor, and Hoyt Lakes in light of future changes in generation and load; Dunka Road Substation (2011-NE-N5), Laskin-Taconite Harbor Voltage Conversion (2017-NE-N2), Babbitt Capacitor Bank (2017-NE-N8), ETCO Capacitor Bank (2017-NE-N9), Hoyt Lakes 115 kV Project (2017-NE-N23)

Bear Creek 69/46 kV Transformer Addition

2016

MP

System impact of retiring Sandstone 69/46 kV source and establishing new Bear Creek 69/46 kV source; Bear Creek 69/46 kV Transformer (2015-NE-N13)

Shutdown of Boswell Units 1 & 2 System Impact Study

2016

MP

System impact of shutting down Boswell Units 1 & 2 and evaluation of solutions for maintaining system reliability should it become necessary or preferable to shut down Boswell Units 1 & 2; Boswell 230/115 kV Transformer (2017-NE-N13)

North Shore Loop Transmission Study

2017

MP

System impact of transitional changes between Duluth, Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor, and Hoyt Lakes due to conversion, idling, or retirement of local baseload coal-fired generators; North Shore Switching Station & Cap Banks (2017-NE-N7), Forbes 3T Breaker Replacement (2017-NE-N10), North Shore Dynamic Reactive Device (2017-NE-N15), 18 Line Upgrade (2017-NE-N17), North Shore Transmission Line Upgrades (2017-NE-N19), Two Harbors 115 kV Project (2017-NE-N2), Laskin-Tac Harbor Line Upgrades (2017-NE-N21)

868 Line Power Guardian Solution Study

2017

MP

Evaluate Smart Wires Power Guardian solution as an alternative to reconductoring the Little Falls – St. Stephen Tap 115 kV Line; 868 Line Upgrade (2015-NE-N2)

Cass Lake - Donaldson Capacitor Study

2017

OTP

This study aimed to determine the usefulness of the 115 kV capacitors installed at Cass Lake. If removing these capacitors causes no issues in the Cass Lake area, the capacitors could be moved to Donaldson where the system has a greater need for reactive support.

Minnesota Transmission Assessment and Compliance Team 2016 Transmission Assessment (2016 – 2026)

2016

MTO

This report is an annual transmission assessment investigating near-term, mid-term, and long-term transmission conditions.  This purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of the transmission system topology, behavior, and operations to determine if existing and planned facility improvements meet NERC Transmission Planning Standard TPL-001-4.

3.3   Regional Studies

While every study that is undertaken adds to the knowledge of the transmission engineers and helps to determine what transmission will be required to address long-term reliability and to transport renewable energy from various parts of the state to the customers, some studies are intentionally designed to take a broader look at overall transmission needs.  Regional studies analyze the limitation of the regional transmission system and develop transmission alternatives that support multiple generation interconnect requests, regional load growth, and the elimination of transmission constraints that adversely affect utilities' ability to deliver energy to the market in a cost effective manner.  Many of these studies are especially important for focusing on transmission needs for complying with upcoming Renewable Energy Standards.

MISO started a Regional Transmission Overlay Study (RTOS) in 2016, but due to limited benefits identified in the study MISO has put the study effort on hold.

3.3.1  MISO Transmission Expansion Plans

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) engages in annual regional transmission planning and documents the results of its planning activities in the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP).  The MTEP process is explained in detail in chapter 6 since the latest MTEP reports are being relied on to provide information about the transmission inadequacies identified in this Report.  Earlier MTEP Reports were summarized in past Biennial Reports.  For convenience, the following brief description of the latest MTEP reports is presented here.  The MISO Expansion Plans are available on the MISO webpage. Visit http://www.misoenergy.org and click on "Planning."

MTEP16 Report

The 2016 MTEP report was the 13th edition of the publication.  The MTEP16 report identified projects required to maintain reliability for the ten year period through the year 2024 and provides a preliminary evaluation of projects that may be required for economic benefit up to twenty years in the future.

According to the MTEP16 Executive Summary of the report, MISO staff is recommending approval of approximately $2.7 billion in new transmission infrastructure investment.  Of the $2.7 billion, $691.1 million is new Baseline Reliability Projects, $142.7 million is Generation Interconnection Projects, $108 million for Market Efficiency, and the remainder falls into the Other category.

MTEP17 Report

The 2017 MTEP report will be the 14th edition of the publication.  The report exists in draft form for now, but should be formally approved by MISO by the end of the calendar year.

According to the MTEP17 Executive Summary, the MISO staff is recommending approval of approximately $2.47 billion in new transmission infrastructure investment.  Of the $2.47 billion, $1.01 billion is new Baseline Reliability Projects, $197.15 million is Generation Interconnection Projects, and the remainder falls into the Other category.

3.4   Load Serving Studies

Load serving studies focus on addressing load serving needs in a particular area or community.  Since many of the inadequacies in Chapter 6 are load serving situations, many of these studies relate to specific Tracking Numbers. 

Study Title

Anticipated completion

Utility lead for Study

Description

South Washington Load Serving Study

2017

NSP

Develop a comprehensive plan to serve the growing load around the City of Woodbury in eastern Twin Cities Area. 

Owatonna Area Study

2018

NSP/ GRE

Owatonna Area Study.  This study is to evaluate the need for more voltage support under contingency.  The early results are indicating an additional 161 kV line into the Owatonna area.  This study is still ongoing.

Grand Rapids Long-Term Analysis

2018

MP

Continued analysis of the Grand Rapids area in the post-2020 timeframe following shutdown of Boswell Units 1 & 2, interconnection of the Great Northern Transmission Line, potential mining expansion, and general load growth; Projects TBD

North Shore Loop Alternatives Analysis

2018

MP

Continued analysis of the North Shore Loop in the post-2020 timeframe following completion of the transition away from local baseload generators, potential mining expansion, and general load growth; Projects TBD