By Dan Haugen, Midwest Energy News on February 5, 2013
The Midwest’s electricity grid operator later this year is expected to add more than 15,000 miles of transmission and 30,000 megawatts of generation to its system overnight — at midnight, to be precise, on Dec. 18.
That’s the date MISO, pending a few remaining regulatory hurdles, will assume responsibility for operating the electric grid in much of Arkansas and Louisiana and parts of Texas and Mississippi.
The area’s transmission has been run since the 1950s by Entergy, a group of southern utilities that was recently pressured by regulators to give up grid management and focus on power generation.
MISO says its new scale and “footprint diversity” will help improve reliability and efficiency and save money, with annual benefits to existing member utilities exceeding $1.2 billion.
Wind energy advocates are also hopeful the integration could pave the way for grid and policy changes to help clean energy reach one of the “last frontiers” for renewables: the Southeast.
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