First Phase Of SMART Study Released

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American Transmission Co., along with co-sponsors Electric Transmission America, transmission joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.; Exelon Corp.; NorthWestern Energy; Xcel Energy; and MidAmerican Energy Co., a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., have released the first phase of a comprehensive study of the transmission needed in the Upper Midwest to ensure reliability and support renewable energy development for transport to population and electricity load centers.

Phase I results of the ‘Strategic Midwest Area Transmission (SMART) Study’ recommend three alternatives for further study based on a rigorous reliability assessment and stakeholder input. One alternative is primarily 765 kV extra-high-voltage transmission. Another scenario includes 765 kV combined with limited use of high-voltage direct current transmission lines, while the third constitutes a combination of both 345 kV and 765 kV transmission lines.

The three alternatives will be evaluated further during the second phase of the study, scheduled for completion during the third quarter of this year.

The sponsors retained Quanta Technology LLC to evaluate extra-high-voltage transmission alternatives and provide recommendations for new transmission development in the Upper Midwest. In Phase I, Quanta evaluated eight transmission alternatives designed to support the integration of 56.8 GW of nameplate wind generation within the study area, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Quanta assessed and compared transmission alternatives, including conducting an economic analysis quantifying the impact and economic benefits of several transmission options.

The SMART Study's goal is to develop a 20-year transmission plan that ensures reliable electricity transport, provides an efficient transmission system to integrate new generators and foster efficient markets, minimizes environmental impacts, and supports state and national energy policies.

SOURCE: American Transmission Co.

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