Midwest grid operator proposes massive transmission build-out

By Jeffrey Tomich | 03/06/2024 06:39 AM EST

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator said the $23 billion “interstate highway system for electricity” would help states add renewable energy and meet climate goals.

Power transmission lines are shown in Lansing, Michigan.

Power transmission lines are shown in Lansing, Michigan. Al Goldis/AP

The Midwest’s grid operator issued a draft plan Monday for the largest transmission build-out in its history, aimed at helping states meet carbon reduction goals and satisfy growing electricity demand.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) estimates the new power lines would cost as much as $23 billion. The proposal comes as states in the region debate who will build the transmission needed to bring more renewable energy on to the grid and increase reliability.

MISO said the set of projects would create an “interstate highway system for electricity” to meet the climate goals of states, as well as utility and regional needs. It is the second set of new regional power lines proposed as part of MISO’s multiyear, long-range transmission planning process.


“The future grid must be able to integrate new load growth and respond to extreme weather, and a robust transmission system is required to ensure this occurs reliably and efficiently,” Laura Rauch, MISO’s executive director of transmission planning, said in a statement. “We know further transmission development can provide value.”