Traditional transmission planning approaches are often inadequate at accounting for areas of high renewable energy resources. However, regulators and transmission operators are increasingly exploring new methods for developing transmission to high-quality renewable energy areas while also considering financial implications and stakeholder engagement. Despite excellent wind resource in remote locations, Mexico struggled to provide the transmission infrastructure needed to support wind development in the early 2000’s. To rectify the situation, Mexico’s Ministry of Energy and Energy Regulator developed a new transmission planning process called “Open Session” that has enabled greater access to wind resources and lower transmission investment costs. Actions and good practices, profiled in this case study, are highlighted below.
- Identifying transmission needs based on planned wind capacity in areas with significant wind resources supported expansion of renewable energy grid integration.
- Allowing the regulator to authorize new transmission infrastructure without requiring firm generator commitments for capacity payments enabled developers to secure needed financing.
- Requiring wind developers to provide cost-share (at a defined ratio) for transmission infrastructure supported “least-cost” transmission planning.