CARMEL, Ind. — The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) announced another record-setting number of applications accepted into the Generator Interconnection Queue (GIQ) process. This year, MISO interconnection customers submitted 487 applications representing approximately 77 GW of new generation across the MISO footprint – 64 GW (or 83 percent) of which are renewables. The 2021 submissions represent the largest annual inbound set of requests in MISO, exceeding the previous all-time high of 52 GW in 2020 by nearly 50 percent.
“The majority of the GIQ applicants are trending in line with meeting future clean energy goals set by our members and stakeholders,” said Andy Witmeier, director – resource utilization at MISO. “As intermittent resources become more prevalent, the need for our Long-Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) efforts is reinforced to address potential operational challenges in the future and leverage our large regional footprint and resource diversity. The LRTP work is a key component of MISO’s Response to the Reliability Imperative which defines the critical areas requiring urgent action to ensure reliability in the future.”
There are also changes in the type of renewables projects being submitted into MISO’s GIQ application process. Solar projects represent the single-highest category again this year with nearly 44 GW followed by about 12 GW in storage projects. This is the first time storage applications have surpassed wind projects, which totaled about 9.1 GW.
Wind has comprised a large portion of the interconnection queue volume in the last decade while solar resources have emerged more recently in part due to advances in solar technology. A part of the GIQ process is the evaluation of issues impacting the ability of resources to sufficiently serve load and provide needed reserves at all times.
“Our planning efforts included developing the MISO Futures report which highlights the impact of the rapid renewables growth on the electric grid and the transmission system,” said Witmeier. “We anticipated this shift towards more renewable technologies as a replacement for retiring conventional generation across the footprint, and we expect it to accelerate in the future.”
With this year’s influx of new projects, the MISO queue now consists of 980 projects totaling 153 GW – 63 percent of which is solar. MISO is currently managing 15 ongoing queue cycles with another cycle set to start within the next year. MISO will share details about the 2021 GIQ cycle at the monthly Interconnection Process Working Group meeting on Tuesday, September 21 at 10am ET.