WIRES Newsletter - Q1 2021
Message from our Executive Director
Transmission is in the spotlight. The Biden Administration’s infrastructure proposal makes clear that transmission is a top priority for the nation. Our Secretary of Energy talks about the importance of transmission on almost a daily basis. FERC has been moving through a series of technical conferences focused on offshore wind, electrification, and climate change, all of which highlight the critical need for greater investment in transmission infrastructure. Legislators have taken note as well, and are considering proposals to support, expand, and expedite transmission development.

It has become widely accepted that transmission is the missing link to the integration of more renewable energy into the grid. The impact of climate change, as evidenced by the extreme weather impacts in Texas earlier this year, reinforces the importance of a more resilient and interconnected transmission system. And investment in transmission is recognized as key to restarting the economy and creating quality, family-supporting jobs. For anyone who follows transmission, the past couple of months have been a whirlwind of activity, and there is no sign of letting up. Transmission’s time is now, and WIRES looks forward to working with regulators, policymakers and legislators on the path toward a cleaner, more resilient grid.
FERC Developments
FERC has scheduled two upcoming technical conferences. Larry Gasteiger has been invited to present at the electrification conference. A helpful resource is our 2019 report The Coming Electrification of the North American Economy.

April 29, 2021 10am-5pm – Electrification and the Grid of the Future

Spring Member Meeting
April 27, 2021
We are delighted to welcome FERC Chairman Rich Glick as our keynote speaker at our Spring Member Meeting on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Panel discussions will include two tracks:

Transmission Planning for Renewables
Moderated by WIRES President Dave Weaver
  • Judy Chang, Undersecretary of Energy, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • John Moore, NRDC, Sustainable FERC Project
  • Kenneth Seiler, Vice President, Planning, PJM
  • Charles (Chuck) Marshall, Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp.

FERC Order 2222
Moderated by WIRES board member Dave Bonenberger
  • Tricia DeBleeckere, Planning Director, Regulatory Analysis Division, Minnesota PUC
  • Kristin Swenson, Senior Advisor, Market Development, Market & Grid Strategy, Midwest ISO
  • Jacob Tetlow, Senior VP, Operations, Arizona Public Service Company
  • Arthur (Bud) Vos, President, Enbala

Visit our Member Events page for more information.
Q1 Member Webinar Series
Our Member Webinar Series continued into 2021 featuring Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman, Jason Stanek and FERC Chief of Staff, Pam Quinlan.
Members who would like to receive recordings of these sessions, please contact Andrew Brackbill at ABrackbill@kellencompany.com
2021 WIRES Member Meetings – Mark Your Calendar
Please mark your calendars for the additional 2021 member meetings. We are hopeful that our Fall Member Meeting can be an in-person event.

July 28-29, 2021 – WIRES Summer Member Meeting

Oct. 27-28, 2021 – WIRES Fall Member Meeting
Member Profiles
We were delighted to welcome HQUS as a new WIRES Full Supporting Member this quarter.

Hydro-Québec operates an extensive electricity system in the Province of Québec comprised of multiple large scale, and geographically diverse, hydropower generating facilities, equivalent to approximately 37,000 MW of renewable capacity. These facilities are supported by reservoirs capable of instantaneous water release to produce electricity on demand and/or significant water storage for electricity production in future periods. Hydro-Québec’s system includes over 20,000 miles of transmission to efficiently and reliably supply domestic demand in Québec and deliver large quantities of electricity to external markets, including to those in the Northeast U.S. Hydro-Québec’s U.S. affiliate works to provide utility scale market solutions through increased system integration with neighboring markets to deliver clean energy and contribute to decarbonization in the US. Hydro-Québec is currently participating in the development of two large transmission interconnections in the Northeast, the New England Clean Energy Connect in New England and the Champlain Hudson Power Express in New York.
In early March CapX2020 announced it had changed its name to Grid North Partners. We thought it timely to profile the work of this important Midwest transmission group.

Grid North Partners, an evolution of CapX2020, is a broad mix of 10 investor-owned and not-for-profit cooperative and municipal utilities working together to ensure continued safe, reliable and affordable electric service. All of the partners serve customers in the Upper Midwest and own and operate transmission infrastructure throughout their respective service territories. The partners are building on the successful completion of more than 800 miles of high-voltage transmission in the Upper Midwest, the largest transmission expansion in over 40 years.

Together they are collaborating on what is needed to meet the challenges of the energy landscape in the Upper Midwest region now, and for the future. Grid North Partners is working towards one common goal – to continue to provide reliable, safe and affordable energy to the communities it serves. These 10 utilities are making tomorrow’s energy possible together. The Grid North Partners include Central Municipal Power Agency/Services, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Great River Energy, Minnesota Power, Missouri River Energy Services, Otter Tail Power Company, Rochester Public Utilities, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, WPPI Energy and Xcel Energy.
Industry Visibility
Events
On Feb. 3rd Larry spoke on a panel hosted by Power Markets Today on the topic of “Building out the Grid for Clean Energy.”
 
Media coverage
Larry Gasteiger was sought out by many news outlets to discuss the importance of transmission in light of the Texas grid outage and to comment on the transmission provisions outlined in the infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan. Highlights include Associated Press, Bloomberg, Financial Times and a national interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.

4/3/21 – Financial Times
 
3/11/21 – Transmission Hub
 
3/3/21 – Associated Press
 
2/25/21 – NPR All Things Considered
 
2/21/21 – Politico
 
2/18/21 – Financial Times
 
2/17/21 – Bloomberg News

2/4/21 – S&P Global
 
1/26/21 – S&P Global Platts

1/22/21 – E&E News
WIRES is an international, non-profit trade association of investor-, publicly-, and cooperatively owned transmission providers, transmission customers, regional grid managers, and equipment and service companies. WIRES promotes investment in electric transmission and progressive state and federal policies that advance energy markets, economic efficiency, and consumer and environmental benefits through development of electric power infrastructure. For more information, visit www.wiresgroup.com.