What is the Green Power Express?
The Green Power Express is a transmission expansion concept developed by ITC that would set the stage for efficiently moving renewable energy in wind-rich areas to major Midwest load centers. This concept, first articulated in 2009, proposed a network of 765 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines that would form a high-voltage electric "superhighway" to serve the region's growing demand for clean energy in the near term and provide the infrastructure to foster more efficient development of electric resources in the future. ITC estimated approximately 12,000 MW of power from the high capacity and consistent wind areas could be enabled through the construction of the Green Power Express. Click here to access the regulatory filing.
Why is the Green Power Express needed?
Forward thinking projects, similar to of the vision of the Green Power Express, are sorely needed because the upper Midwest and Great Plains regions lack the electric transmission backbone needed to efficiently harness and integrate vast amounts of wind energy into the power grid. The existing system was not designed to support the broader regional transfer capability required to meet renewable portfolio standards implemented in many states. The concept of the Green Power Express was introduced to propose a regional approach that would help alleviate the bottleneck of generator interconnection requests in MISO, many of which are for new wind resources, by providing an outlet for generation developers to deliver their power to homes and businesses across the region.
What is the status of Green Power Express?
Just recently, MISO unveiled its Multi-Value Project Portfolio ("MVP Portfolio"). This collection of high-voltage projects in part represents a more concrete version of segments of the Green Power Express. While MISO has chosen to utilize 345kV instead of 765kV, the MVP Portfolio follows similar electrical paths and begins to accomplish the same purposes as the Green Power Express. ITC envisions that future MVP projects will ultimately complete a high voltage network functionally equivalent to the Green Power Express proposal.
Did ITC or Green Power Express consider direct current ("DC") facilities as a possible solution? If not, why not?
Direct current is a good technology solution for some applications. However, in the development of the Green Power Express, DC was never seriously considered because of its fundamental limitations. The Green Power Express was designed to be an extra high-voltage backbone that would gather abundant wind resources from disparate areas and transport it eastward. DC, on the other hand, generally is used to deliver energy from point A to point B with little opportunity for intermediate on-ramps and off-ramps. As such, DC would result in less flexibility for integrating wind generation onto the system and getting wind power off the system when delivering wind to load.
Did ITC submit this project to be part of the Midwest ISO MTEP process?
Yes, concurrent with the application to FERC, ITC also submitted the Green Power Express to the Midwest ISO for inclusion in the MTEP under Appendix C. Green Power Express and the Midwest ISO RGOS are based on similar goals of long-term, holistic system approach for the integration of renewables and to address reliability needs. Green Power Express and the RGOS are electrically equivalent from a broad perspective and include some identical segments. Given alignment of the goals and results of both projects, the Midwest ISO RGOS process provides a channel for the Green Power Express, or its underlying segments, to move forward through the planning approval process.