New Report: Better Analysis of Transmission Benefits Enables Low-Cost Clean Energy

Midwest Grid Operator’s Leading Practices Highlighted, Areas for Improvement Identified

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) recent approval of 18 new transmission lines, the largest transmission expansion to enable low-cost clean energy in U.S. history, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Grid Strategies are releasing a new analysis identifying best practices for quantifying the benefits of large-scale transmission. The report explores MISO’s long-range transmission planning process and the methodologies used to evaluate transmission benefits in a first-of-its-kind case study that offers recommendations on areas that can be improved and replicated by other planning entities and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

“When the benefits of proposed transmission lines are fully calculated, the advantages of new lines are made clear to regional planners,” said ACORE’s President and CEO Gregory Wetstone. “Building off MISO’s forward-leaning process, our analysis offers a roadmap for FERC and other planning entities that, if adopted, will result in a cleaner, lower-cost electric grid. FERC does not yet have standards in place on what transmission benefits to measure and how, resulting in widely varied and imprecise practices nationwide.”

MISO’s stakeholder-informed plan identified approximately $37.3 billion worth of benefits from the 18 new transmission lines, which the analysis found is a conservative estimate that potentially undercounts billions of dollars in value. The new report benchmarks the benefits MISO assessed with the 12 categories suggested in FERC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on transmission planning.

“MISO pioneered multi-benefit planning and has done it again with this latest portfolio,” said Rob Gramlich, Founder and President of Grid Strategies. “While it is both common-sense and standard economic policy to consider all of the benefits and all of the costs when doing benefit-cost analysis or evaluating public utility investments, it is unfortunately not at all standard at this time in the U.S. transmission sector. With this report we hope to highlight MISO’s good methods, suggest some modest improvements, and encourage similar practices in other planning regions.”

Enabling Low-Cost Clean Energy and Reliable Service Through Better Transmission Benefits Analysis was prepared by Grid Strategies for ACORE on behalf of the Macro Grid Initiative. To download a copy of the report, click here.


About ACORE:
For more than 20 years, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has been the nation’s premier pan-renewable nonprofit organization. ACORE unites finance, policy and technology to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy. For more information, please visit

About the Macro Grid Initiative:

The Macro Grid Initiative, a joint effort of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, seeks to expand and upgrade the nation’s transmission network to deliver job growth and economic development, a cleaner environment, and lower costs for consumers.

Media Contact:

Alex Hobson
Vice President of Communications
American Council on Renewable Energy | 202.777.7584 (o) | 202.594.0706 (c)