Electricity Transmission and the State Utility Commission Approcal Process- What's Taking So Long?
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Electricity transmission lines connecting widely dispersed renewable energy resources and other electricity generators to load centers are a vital piece of the electric grid of the future. Building transmission infrastructure faces a number of obstacles, not the least of which is receiving approval from state utility commissions. This paper tracks the progress of fifteen transmission projects approved in Midcontinent Independent System Operator Transmission Expansion Planning 2011, as they move through the commission approval process in an attempt to identify any delays and their causes. These projects were selected due to their status as Multi value Projects in the hopes they would represent the best case scenario for projects seeking approval. The projects cover eight states: Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. While projects in Iowa and Minnesota were found to take significantly longer than projects in other states, the delays were determined to be due primarily to developer actions, rather than a cumbersome approval process.