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High Voltage DC Interconnections can be the backbone to interconnect Eastern, Western and Texas regions

image credit: Rao Konidena/Google
Rao Konidena's picture
Independent Consultant Rakon Energy LLC

Rao Konidena found Rakon Energy LLC because Rao is passionate about connecting clients to cost-effective solutions in energy consulting, storage, distributed energy resources, and electricity...

  • Member since 2014
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  • Dec 7, 2020

If US DOE and Congress is serious about renewable interconnections and the need for a macro-grid, then, let's see a plan to interconnect the 3 regions that are largely being left alone until this point in time - Eastern, Western, and Texas interconnections. A lot of ideas and plans are hinting at interconnecting the 3 interconnections, but none are tying all the three grids together.

High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) is economical when connecting 2 points over large distances. This is not a HVAC solution. If we have a backbone system in the Midwest starting with MISO in Minnesota and following the interstate 35, that HVDC system can connect ERCOT to MISO via SPP. Yes, we must tackle cost allocation across 2 FERC jurisdictional RTOs (MISO and SPP) and a non-FERC RTO - ERCOT. Talk about "bipartisan" support.

Similarly, if we take the west region and drop 2 HVDC connections that strongly tie CAISO and Western EIM - that should provide a market for Midwest wind in Western regions, and vice-versa - Western solar a market in the Midwest.

Additionally, tying this Midwest backbone to PJM and Southeast EIM should add the market for PJM and RTOs east of PJM - NYISO and ISO-NE. Similarly, the southeast will find a market in the Midwest via the backbone.

Inter-regional projects should become the norm. DOE and Congress should leverage what FERC RTOs have - regional planning efforts. It is time to think big!

HVDC connection across US

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 7, 2020

The U.S. has its power industry set up pretty uniquely from the rest of the world in the various regional/state bodies that have power and control. Is that going to be a problem when it comes to trying to make HVDC a reality? 

Rao Konidena's picture
Rao Konidena on Dec 27, 2020

I don't think so, Matt. Most states realize the value of regional planning and regional transmission organizations. And most of the state regulatory authorities (i.e. staff and commissioners) are closely following planning stakeholder committee meetings. Hence, I would think regional and state bodies with power and control ask the tough questions to understand the benefits and costs of HVDC.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 28, 2020

That's good to hear, Rao. I just wonder if there will become any issues that come up where a specific RTO is understandably invested in protecting the customers and operators in its jurisdiction while another RTO does the same and if that could lead to a conflict in any specific decisions that could somehow benefit one over the other? Without an overarching organization making those decisions, will there be a gap? Or would something like that lead to FERC getting involved in some way? 

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Thank Rao for the Post!
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