The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved transmission infrastructure investment rate incentives for a proposed 3,000-mile regional “green power superhighway” designed to deliver wind-powered renewable energy from the upper Mid-west to consumers in and around Chicago, Minneapolis and other load centers.
Green Power Express LP, a transmission-only limited partnership formed by Michigan-based ITC Holdings Corp., designed the project to provide consumers the benefits associated with high-voltage transmission of remotely located renewable energy, enhancing regional electric markets by increasing supply alternatives and decreasing congestion on existing transmission facilities.
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff highlighted the importance of new transmission infrastructure to fulfilling the promise of renew-able energy and noted that getting these types of projects built will require effective transmission planning that looks beyond the needs of a single utility, state or region.
“Meeting our nation’s energy goals will require developing extra-high-voltage transmission infrastructure that is needed to bring clean, renewable energy from areas where it is produced most efficiently to areas where most of our nation’s power is consumed,” Wellinghoff said. “The commission is examining the adequacy of transmission planning processes and is com-mitted to working with transmission providers and state and regional entities to provide consumers with greater access to renewable resources.”
Green Power Express estimates that its proposed 765-kV transmission network would cost between $10 billion and $12 bil-lion, eventually span seven states and deliver up to 12,000 megawatts of wind energy and stored energy from the Dakotas, Minne-sota and Iowa to Midwestern load centers in Chicago, Minneapolis and southeastern Wisconsin.