The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) says cheers went up in its control room the other night after more than two years of intensive planning and training led to the smooth integration of a four-state region of the electric grid across the South into MISO's existing footprint in the Midwest.
The change in control, or ‘cutover,’ took place at the stroke of midnight as Wednesday passed into Thursday and extends MISO's operational and market footprints from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Manitoba, Canada.
"With this change, MISO's new members across the South will begin to receive the broad array of benefits that our markets provide, including the cost savings realized from improved reliability and efficient commitment and dispatch," says MISO President and CEO John Bear. "Collectively, we celebrate the successful integration and can begin to focus on the future – delivering reliability and economic benefits to millions more people."
In total, the grid operator says it now manages a combined footprint of 65,280 miles of transmission with total electric generation capacity throughout MISO of approximately 196 GW, making MISO one of the largest power grid operators in the world.
The integration added 10 new transmission-owning companies, six local balancing authorities and 33 new market participants from Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri to MISO. This new region – referred to as MISO South – includes the following transmission owners and local balancing authorities: Entergy (Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Gulf States and New Orleans), Cleco Corp., Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority, Louisiana Generating, South Mississippi Electric Power Association. and East Texas Electric Cooperative.
"Our goal is to provide stronger analysis of operational issues and inclusive policy input to enhance each member's ability to serve the country's overarching need of energy stability," comments Todd Hillman, regional vice president of MISO South.
In early November, MISO received NERC approval to serve as the balancing authority for the region. To better support the recent integration from an operational perspective, MISO says construction is under way on its new South Region Operations Center in Little Rock, Ark.