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MISO issues "road map" that could add more renewables to the grid


MISO, the agency that manages Michigan's electric grid, says it's planning for a better interstate transmission system.

Experts say that's good news for helping to clean up the state's electricity.  

MISO manages and ensure reliable electricity for its entire grid, which includes Michigan, 16 other states, and the Canadian province of Manitoba.  

John Moore is with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He says his group has been pushing MISO to add more interstate transmission lines to the grid, so that increased amounts of renewable energy like wind and solar can move across state lines.

He says dozens of renewable energy projects in Michigan were shelved in recent years, because the grid couldn't handle them.

"(The road map) is a very good first step for MISO to catch up to the pace of the energy change that's occurring," says Moore. "Consumers will get more access to lower cost energy, and I think that's especially true in Michigan. This kind of planning will help Michigan ultimately both import and export more power."

Moore says renewable energy is the cheapest source of electricity now, so it's important for financial reasons as well as environmental reasons to get more of it on the grid.     

Many states in the MISO grid are pushing their utilities to shut down their coal plants and rely more on renewable sources of electricity. 

Michigan has set a goal of zero net carbon emissions by the year 2050, which will require the state's utilities to dramatically decrease the number of coal and gas plants.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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