By the OGJ Online Staff
HOUSTON, Oct. 1, 2001 – Canada’s Manitoba Hydro said it reached a coordination agreement with the Midwest Independent System Operator in a deal that would represent the first international extension of a regional transmission organization.
Under the deal, the Canadian crown provincial utility, Canada’s fourth largest, will participate in the Midwest ISO and remain compliant with Canadian law, which precludes Manitoba Hydro from signing the Midwest ISO’s transmission owners’ agreement.
Manitoba Hydro serves more than 402,000 customers, owns 11,000 km of transmission lines, and operates 5,200 Mw of mostly hydroelectric generating capacity. The company market excess electricity in the US Midwest in the spring and summer and imports power from US power producers during the winter.
It is a member of the Midcontinent Area Power Pool, which covers Nebraska, Minnesota, the Dakotas, eastern Montana, western Wisconsin, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, with total generating capacity of 43,000 Mw.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has made RTOs a top priority and has encouraged transmission owners to form four large RTOs in the US – one each in the West, Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest.
The agency wants common rules that allow power producers access to the grid and that insure producers can ship electricity across the borders of the local transmission system at the lowest prices. The Midwest ISO, which will be responsible for directing the flow of up to 81,000 Mw of power over more than 70,000 miles of transmission lines, plans to start operating in December.
TRANSLink, composed of six utilities in the Great Plains region, filed with FERC Friday seeking permission to form a separate grid operator. It also told FERC it plans to take RTO services such as security coordination and market monitoring from the Midwest ISO.
In addition, four other utilities have signed conditional applications for Midwest ISO membership, including Great River Energy, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and Sunflower Electric Corp.