American Transmission Co. LLC of Pewaukee is working with other utilities to sponsor a new study aimed at finding ways to transmit alternative energy output from the Midwest toward the more power-hungry East Coast.
American Transmission said that it, along with other sponsoring utilities, has lined up Raleigh, N.C.-based Quanta Technology LLC to study options for high-capacity transmission in the upper Midwest. Officials said bolstering such a network in the region is key to connecting renewable energy generation in states such as North and South Dakota and Minnesota with consumers in the eastern U.S.
"The region under study has some of the richest renewable wind potential in the U.S.," said John Procario, ATC president and CEO. "Harvesting this midwestern wind potential and bringing the resulting electric generation to market requires an upgrade to the transmission system in the heart of the nation. Studying the transmission options at the regional level is key to identifying the most economic options."
The study, known as the Strategic Midwest Area Renewable Transmission Study (SMARTransmission Study), is set for completion in January. Results from the study are set to be presented to regional regulators next year.
Other backers of the study are American Electric Power’s Electric Transmission America joint venture with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) and MidAmerican subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Co.