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Studies and Reports > 2019 Biennial Report > Transmission Studies


Transmission Projects Report 2019
Chapter 3: Transmission Studies


3.0 Transmission Studies

3.1  Introduction

The 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 2019 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 energy in the upper Midwest.  Section 3.4 focuses on ongoing load serving studies that are attempting to resolve local inadequacy issues.  

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 2017.  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

Grand Meadow 69 kV Transmission Study

2018

DPC

Study the 69 kV system in the Grand Meadow, MN area for serving a new distribution substation to serve Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services Members

Huntley-Hayward Area Study

2019

DPC

This study reviewed the 69 kV system in the Albert Lea, MN area and impacts of a Hayward 69 kV bus-tie breaker failure.

Grand Rapids Long-Term Analysis

2018

MP

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;
11 Line Upgrade (2019-NE-N1),
Hibbing 14 Line Upgrade (2019-NE-N3),
25 Line Upgrade (2019-NE-N4),
Duluth Area 230 kV (2007-NE-N1)

North Shore Loop Alternatives Analysis

2019

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;
Mesaba Junction 115 kV Project (2017-NE-N23),
Forbes 37 Line Upgrade (2019-NE-N2),
Babbitt Area 115 kV Project (2019-NE-N10),
38 Line Upgrade (2019-NE-N11),
Duluth 115 kV Loop (2019-NE-N12),
Duluth Area 230 kV (2007-NE-N1)

Western Minnesota Load Serving Study

2018

MRES (GRE/ OTP/ MPC)

A study of Western Minnesota
reliability/load serving

Minnesota Transmission Assessment and Compliance Team 2018 Transmission Assessment (2018 – 2028)

2018

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.

Cass Lake Casino

2018

OTP

The 69 kV system in Cass Lake, MN, was not strong enough to support a new casino load in the town. This study was performed to determine the reliability impacts of moving the town and casino load to the area 115 kV system.

Otter Tail Power Company Ten Year Development Study

2018

OTP

This study was commissioned to determine areas of need on the Otter Tail Transmission system primarily consisting of non-Bulk Energy System (BES) facilities through a ten-year timeframe. Several different BES projects were identified as best-fit solutions to support the non-BES facilities.

Northwest Minnesota Study: Project Timing Analysis

2019

OTP

The MTEP18 study identified various near- and long-term performance concerns in the Northwest Minnesota area. A suite of projects was proposed to mitigate the concerns, and the timing of each project was determined in this study.

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. 

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

MISO engages in annual regional transmission planning and documents the results of its planning activities in the 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."

MTEP18 Report
The MTEP18 report identified projects required to maintain reliability for the ten year period through the year 2027 and provides a preliminary evaluation of projects that may be required for economic benefit up to twenty years in the future.

According to the MTEP18 Executive Summary, the MISO staff is recommending approval of approximately $3.3 billion in new transmission infrastructure investment.  Of the $3.3 billion, $709 million is new Baseline Reliability Projects, $255 million is Generation Interconnection Projects, and the remainder falls into the Other category.

MTEP19 DRAFT Report
The MTEP19 DRAFT report identified projects required to maintain reliability for the ten year period through the year 2028 and provides a preliminary evaluation of projects that may be required for economic benefit up to twenty years in the future.

According to the MTEP19 DRAFT Executive Summary, the MISO staff is recommending approval of approximately $3.87 billion in new transmission infrastructure investment.  Of the $3.87 billion, $824 million is new Baseline Reliability Projects, $246 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

2019

NSP

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

Great River Energy Long Range Plan (LRP)

2019

GRE

In 2018, Great River Energy embarked on an exhaustive study of the transmission system GRE owns and to some degree the transmission that serves GRE's membership.  The LRP aims to uncover capacity deficiencies within the transmission system looking out approximately 10 years and identifying projects to address the weaknesses and build robustness for the long-term future.  GRE will communicate the results through electronic displays to its members.  This analysis is planned to be completed at the end of 2019.

Duluth Area Study

2019

MP

Continued analysis of the Duluth-area issues identified in previous studies to identify preferred long-term solutions;
Duluth 115 kV Loop (2019-NE-N12),
Duluth Area 230 kV (2007-NE-N1)

Wendell Interconnection and Nashua Elevator Load Serving Study

2019

OTP

Load growth in the Western Minnesota area caused a need for system upgrades. Various transmission and non-transmission alternatives were investigated to determine a best-fit project for the new load.

Benson Area Study

2020

GRE

This study is in progress to identify and address reliability concerns in the transmission system that serves the Benson area.

Owatonna Area Study

2020

MISO

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.

Barnesville Area

2020

GRE/MRES/ /OTP

GRE, MRES, and OTP are studying the transmission system in the Barnesville area to address local load serving concerns, and potential reliability benefits for the surrounding load pocket looking out towards the end of the planning horizon. The study is expected to be completed early 2020.

CapX2050 Transmission Vision Study

2020

GRE/XEL

The CapX2020 utilities plan to undertake a Transmission Vision Study to examine the transmission system that serves the Upper Midwest to identify system improvements and infrastructure upgrades that may be needed to achieve the ambitious 2050 carbon reduction goals established or proposed by utilities and policymakers.  This holistic long-term study is critical to the eventual development of a comprehensive plan that will ensure the continued reliable delivery of low-cost electricity in a cost-effective manner as the Upper Midwest generation fleet transitions to use higher levels of carbon-free generation, distributed generation and new energy storage technologies.  The study is targeted to be completed in January 2020.

The CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 10 transmission-owning utilities consisting of: Central Municipal Power Agency/Services, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power, Missouri River Energy Services, Otter Tail Power Company, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy.
For more information, visit www.capx2020.com