And Then There was One

Selecting a Developer: MISO’s First Competitive Transmission Project


December 2016 will go down in MISO’s history book for a couple of reasons.  First, there’s the birthday celebration … MISO turns 15. “Wow” is one way to describe all of the accomplishments the RTO achieved during in its first decade and a half. Highlights include the 2005 Market Launch, the 2009 Ancillary Services launch and the 2013 integration of the South region. Secondly, there’s another first … the announcement of Republic Transmission, LLC as the designated developer for MISO’s first competitive transmission project.

The Duff-Coleman EHV 345 kV transmission line project is located in southern Indiana and western Kentucky. It’s MISO’s first transmission project that is eligible under Order 1000 for competitive evaluation and developer selection. For the last two years, a team of individuals first known as “TDQS” (don’t ask; no one remembers what those letters stand for) and now known as the CTA (Competitive Transmission Administration) had been tasked with the responsibility of creating and successfully implementing the selection process.

“We started with a small team who had been working tirelessly and successfully to create the competitive developer selection process and get FERC to approve it,” said Priti Patel, regional executive for the MISO north region and executive director of MISO’s Competitive Transmission Administration. The challenge was to develop a new process to define work that was wildly outside of MISO’s typical role.”

While MISO has a long history in transmission planning, Order 1000 and competitive evaluation and developer selection forced the company to look at a host of things the RTO never typically considered.  Business related issues like the financial stability of transmission companies; operations and maintenance abilities; and gauging the capability of companies to design and build the transmission project on time and on budget.

Once FERC approved Duff-Coleman as the first competitive transmission project, the team faced its next challenge – making the process they created work fairly, efficiently and effectively. The launch and implementation of the selection process would take a full year. With the Request for Proposal issued in January 2016, 11 qualified developers submitted proposals by the July deadline. The CTA spent the next four months evaluating each proposal against evaluation principles found in MISO’s business practice manual as well as four FERC-approved criteria: cost and design, project implementation, operations and maintenance, and participation in the planning process.

“The 11 proposals were sufficiently distinct from one another. Each provided varying levels of specificity, certainty, risk mitigation, and cost. In the end, the winning proposal had to offer the greatest overall value to the rate-payers in the MISO footprint. Republic Transmission, LLC was the clear and decisive winner,” said Patel.

Amazingly, she says, the team focused on finishing the comparative evaluation of the 11 developers, selecting the developer, and finishing the selection report well in advance of the deadlines set forth in the tariff.  “We decided early on to target December 20 as the announcement date, instead of December 30th, and we made our target.  In fact, we targeted finishing the selection report over 30 days in advance of the tariff requirement, and we met that target as well” she said.

Republic Transmission, LLC will sign a binding developer agreement, incorporating the commitments made in its selected proposal. With the evaluation and selection phases of the CTA process over, MISO now looks forward to working closely with all stakeholders and the OMS to ensure the success of this project.

Said Patel, “The dedication, innovative thinking, and competitive spirit the RFP Respondents brought to this process will benefit MISO, its members, and ultimately all consumers of electricity in helping us build a stronger, more reliable electric grid for today and tomorrow.”

To learn more about MISO’s selection of  Republic Transmission, LLC for the Duff-Coleman EHV 345 kV project, check out the Selection Report found on our website.

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