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Renewables Land in Midwest - MISO Ready

image credit: Martin Rosenberg
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  • May 22, 2021
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EVs are coming across the nation. But before that an avalanche of renewable electric generation will hit the Midwest territory served by the Mid-continent Independent System operator (MISO), with its 471 market participants serving 42 million people. Here is how its CEO John Bear put it to the Grid Talk podcast, www.smartgrid.gov/gridtalk

“Well, we’re having a significant portfolio change in the electric grid we’re operating. We’re going to – over the next five to ten years – double the amount of renewables that we have on our system, that being wind and solar, at a sort of scalable wholesale level.” 

The region has long relied on coal burning to generate power. That is now changing. 

“So, if you go out to 2040 for example, we’re looking at wind and solar being around 25% of our portfolio,” Bear said. 

To accommodate the changed generation fleet, MISO will have to expand on its bread and butter service: transmission. $4 billion worth of project are in the wings, and more are planned. 

“We are going to need some significant transmission changes… to make sure that we can move the wind and solar around so they don’t have to curtail it when we don’t have enough load to absorb it in the regions that it’s in.”

Bear is energized by the challenge.

“You know, I’m most excited about the decarbonization effort that’s ongoing. I think that it’s super exciting to see the pace and the velocity of which our industry is having to change and then having to think through how to make all of that work together in a reliable, affordable way.”

John Bear joined MISO in 2004 and has more than 25 years of executive leadership in the utility industry. As Chief Executive Officer of MISO since January 2009, he leads MISO’s continuous efforts to work collaboratively and transparently with its members to reliably deliver low-cost energy through efficient, innovative, operations and planning.

Bear graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. 

Grid Talk is a podcast featuring the leaders and innovators shaping the 21st century grid. Hear the stories—in their own words—of how they are meeting the challenges and transitioning their businesses to operate successfully in a new era of evolving markets, changing regulations, higher customer expectation, increasing cybersecurity threats, demands for cleaner energy sources, growing customer-owned generations and emerging technology. The podcast is part of Department of Energy’s Voices of Experience, an initiative that supports grid modernization by sharing insights, lessons learned and advice on operating in a rapidly evolving industry.

About the Host

Grid Talk is hosted by award winning, energy journalist Marty Rosenberg. For nearly 40 years, Marty has been covering business, energy, finance, and technology. He was the Editor-in-Chief for EnergyBiz from 2004 to 2014. EnergyBiz was an award-winning national publication covering energy and utilities. Marty has been published in multiple media outlets including the New York Times, Huffington Post and USA Today. Marty plugs into the industry knowledge base to deliver critical information about the opportunities and challenges facing utilities today. The result is engaging conversations about modernizing our electric grid.

For more episodes - https://www.smartgrid.gov/gridtalk/

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