13. What steps have been taken and could be taken to ensure the availability and reliability of electricity delivery in the Upper Peninsula?


Comments:

The Lake Superior Community Partnership is a private-public partnership responsible for economic development in the Marquette County region.  Several years ago, we recognized the need for a regional energy task force that would share information and create strategies that support economic development throughout the Upper Peninsula.  Through the collaborative work of the energy task force and other regional initiatives, it should be apparent that we clearly understand the vital importance of gaining access to reliable and affordable energy. We also understand the necessity of monitoring and influencing policy and regulatory decisions that may impact our ability to retain and grow our economy.

Having reviewed the information and questions posed for this hearing, it became apparent that we needed to highlight the unique differences that exist between the Upper Peninsula and the rest of the state.  The UP is distinctly different in many ways, including our energy infrastructure and the resources that we depend on to meet our demand for energy.  These differences must be taken into account as new energy policy is contemplated and developed for the State of Michigan.

- Amy, Lake Superior Community Partnership

Energy Policy Position Paper

04/25/2013

Michigan must be viewed as part of the interconnected regional and national transmission grid.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder voiced an urgent need to address transmission and reliability shortfalls in the U.P. in his special address on energy and the environment in late November 2012.  FERC continues to stress the importance of a robust transmission grid in providing access to energy that is affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible.   

It is an established fact amongst MISO, Michigan utilities and Wisconsin utilities that the transmission system in the U.P. must be split into two systems to maintain reliability for the majority of the year.  A "flow control" device is being installed on the U.P. side of the Mackinac Bridge in an attempt to address this transmission system deficiency in the U.P. This device will limit the magnitude and direction of power flows between the U.P. and Lower Michigan.  While this device does prevent specific reliability issues from occurring, it does not improve Michigan's overall electric reliability and limits the availability and robustness of Michigan's transmission system.  Wolverine shares Governor Snyder's concerns on transmission and reliability shortfalls in the U.P.  A more robust transmission grid in Michigan is essential to economic development in our state and it will facilitate lower LMP costs for Michigan's customers.

- Kim, Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc.

04/25/2013

MISO is currently investigating the Upper Peninsula's transmission system needs as they relate to availability and reliability through a Northern Area Study process. ITC is participating in this Northern Area Study has submitted a substantive project for inclusion in the study that would bolster the connection between the upper and lower peninsulas.  This project may have substantial benefits for both the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula.

Transmission is vital to the long term availability and reliability of electricity delivery in the Upper Peninsula. Policy makers should look at review the Northern Area Study but should not do so in isolation and must factor in other benefits that the MISO study does not evaluate (e.g. economic development potential).  Decisions around the future needs of the Upper Peninsula should consider the entire state. Increasing the reliability in that area of the state may provide reliability and economic benefits to the whole state and should make the Upper Peninsula more attractive to potential new business investment.

- Kwafo, ITC Holdings Corp

04/25/2013