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“Transmission: Renewables ‘Hit A Wall’ In Saturated Upper Midwest Grid”

“In August, two wind farm developers quietly withdrew their requests to tie into the Midwest power grid.

NextEra Energy Inc. and Southern Power Co. filed the notices with regulators in Minnesota and North Dakota, respectively. The documents didn't draw much attention. Developers routinely enter the Midcontinent Independent System Operator's (MISO) interconnection queue and later drop out if projects aren't feasible.

But renewable energy advocates in the region say the projects belong to a much larger group of wind and solar developments that have also dropped requests to plug into MISO's system. And the reason they surrendered their place in line — grid congestion — is a red flag for thousands of megawatts of projects still waiting for a chance to connect.

The Clean Grid Alliance — which includes renewable developers, environmental groups, turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Google LLC — says transmission congestion threatens to dramatically slow renewable energy development. And that could have a ripple effect that goes far beyond keeping the lights on.”

Jeffrey Tomich reports for EnergyWire December 12, 2019.