Planning

System planning

Our transmission planning process involves continually evaluating the operation of the electric transmission network and taking a comprehensive look at various factors affecting electric use in the region, such as business development and employment trends, proposed new generation and projected growth in electric usage. Because transmission projects take years to plan and build, each year ATC prepares and issues a 10-Year Assessment, which identifies and prioritizes future projects needed to improve the adequacy and reliability of the system for our customers.

We’re planning responsibly for our energy future

Many people have experienced the frustration of traffic gridlock, especially during rush hour in populated areas. Traffic can literally come to a complete stop. When electricity usage exceeds the number of lines available to carry electric power, the result is similar to a traffic jam – power stops flowing and an outage can occur. Depending on the size of the line, overloading can affect thousands of homes and businesses.

ATC is planning for new transmission lines well in advance in order to avoid network gridlock. We have the knowledge, expertise and responsibility to ensure the reliability of the transmission system.

We’re planning better access to connections, across a wider area

The transmission system is used to transport electricity from power plants, where it is produced, to the electric distribution systems of local utilities, which delivers it to homes and businesses. With the introduction of the open wholesale electricity marketplace in the late 1990s, the transmission system is required to move electricity more than just locally. It now must be able to move large quantities of power into, out of and through a greater region so that utilities have the option to buy and sell electricity when it’s economic to do so.

The ability of the transmission system to handle this type of electricity traffic is known as transfer capability. Access refers to the ability of customers to use the system’s transfer capability to access power available in adjacent utility or energy markets. Due to the age and configuration of ATC’s transmission system, transfer capability is limited. As a result, ATC launched an Access Initiative in 2004 to study ways to improve transfer capability and assess the benefits and costs associated with developing transmission connections with adjacent areas.