(The Center Square) – The power grid Midcontinent Independent System Operator board voted to approve nearly $10.5 billion in new transmission investments Monday.
The MISO vote approves the first phase of projects for the Long Range Transmission Planning process.
The phase totals 18 projects and nearly $10.5 billion in new transmission system investments expected to provide MISO ratepayers between $37 and $69 billion in benefits.
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition applauded the measure but still said MISO needed to “act faster” and said if Ameren homes go dark, MISO’s “inaction” will be to blame.
“They must move faster to approve these renewable energy projects that will bring down prices and improve grid reliability,” the coalition said in a statement.
MISO had previously warned of energy reliability issues, even going as far as issuing advisories on possible rolling blackouts.
State Sen. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, said that the change to clean energy could be done without closing several coal-fired power plants in southern Illinois.
“Everyone in the MISO grid is going to be affected by this,” Bryant told The Center Square. “We could have saved the nuclear plant without destroying coal and natural gas. We could have moved forward on wind and solar without destroying coal and natural gas.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a green energy law last year that requires coal-fired power plants in the state to close by 2045.
The portfolio approved on Monday estimates to power 1,825,366 homes and create 31,735 jobs in Illinois.