Renewables Land in Midwest - MISO Ready

Grid Talk

06-05-2021 • 18 mins

EVs are coming across the nation. But before that an avalanche of renewable electric generation will hit the Midwest territory served by the Mid-continent Independent System operator (MISO), with its 471 market participants serving 42 million people. Here is how its CEO John Bear put it to the Grid Talk podcast,

“Well, we’re having a significant portfolio change in the electric grid we’re operating. We’re going to – over the next five to ten years – double the amount of renewables that we have on our system, that being wind and solar, at a sort of scalable wholesale level.”

The region has long relied on coal burning to generate power. That is now changing.

“So, if you go out to 2040 for example, we’re looking at wind and solar being around 25% of our portfolio,” Bear said.

To accommodate the changed generation fleet, MISO will have to expand on its bread and butter service: transmission. $4 billion worth of project are in the wings, and more are planned.

“We are going to need some significant transmission changes… to make sure that we can move the wind and solar around so they don’t have to curtail it when we don’t have enough load to absorb it in the regions that it’s in.”

Bear is energized by the challenge.

“You know, I’m most excited about the decarbonization effort that’s ongoing. I think that it’s super exciting to see the pace and the velocity of which our industry is having to change and then having to think through how to make all of that work together in a reliable, affordable way.”

John Bear joined MISO in 2004 and has more than 25 years of executive leadership in the utility industry. As Chief Executive Officer of MISO since January 2009, he leads MISO’s continuous efforts to work collaboratively and transparently with its members to reliably deliver low-cost energy through efficient, innovative, operations and planning.

Bear graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.