New WestConnect booklet highlights accomplishments

WestConnect, the transmission coordination organization comprised of electric utility providers throughout 16 western states and parts of Canada, including Tri-State, recently produced a “Western Initiatives” booklet that offers an overview of the organization’s many successes over the past decade in promoting and planning transmission markets in the West.

Among those accomplishments, over 2,200 circuit miles of transmission lines rate at 230kV or above have been planned, sited and constructed in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, which overlays the aforementioned western region.

Nearly $6 billion in transmission investment is planned or proposed in the next few years. This potential investment in transmission in the West far exceeds the investment of all other North American Electric Reliability Corporation regions combined.

A key factor in successfully funding western transmission has been accomplished through a joint ownership model.  Joint ownership allows multiple parties to aggregate their needs and effort in individual transmission projects to achieve critical mass and reduce individual risk and costs.

Efforts to identify efficient ways to integrate renewable resources into the transmission system have been undertaken in many western states, including those served by Tri-State’s member systems. These efforts bring together varied stakeholders to discuss environmental impacts, land use and other public concerns. By obtaining stakeholder input early in the process, future transmission lines will be sites more quickly and at a lower cost to consumers.

Serving on the WestConnect Steering Committee are Tri-Staters Ron Steinbach and Doug Reese.

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