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Improvements coming for Michigan's power grid

Electrical worker fixing a line on a utility pole
User: Sigmund

Michigan is one of nine states slated for upgraded and new power transmission lines. On July 25, The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) approved a combined total of $10.3 billion dollars in plans.

MISO operates what many know as "the grid." They manage and monitor the flow of electricity throughout fifteen states and the province of Manitoba. The complex system uses computer controls and computer modeling so that people have all the electricity they want every day. That's according to Ed Rivet, director of Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, an advocacy and research group.

In Michigan, the plans include 95 miles of upgraded lines and and 110 miles of new lines. The plans will allow expanded usage of clean sources of energy.

Rivet said the old model of a central power station delivering electricity to customers is outdated. Clean energy is more common, but these new lines will make it more usable. He said future electricity lines will need to be able to move power in both directions since energy is being sourced from all over.

Jackson Keith, Land and Liberty Coalition director, said the new lines will, "ensure the electrons being generated by clean energy projects ultimately reach the end user." He thinks landowners and rural communities in Michigan will get an economic boost from the increased ability to use and supply the grid.

Rivet expects growing demands on the electric grid over the next ten years, especially as the electric vehicle industry expands. He said that foreign energy sources are getting less reliable and more expensive. He sees these investments as part of the solution, and as another step toward the country's energy independence.

MISO hopes these improvements will reduce blackouts and outages during extreme temperatures and poor weather conditions.

These plans are set to take place in phases over the next ten years.

Katheryne Friske is the weekend morning host and producer for All Things Considered.
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