First competitive transmission company launched in the United States.

GridLiance aims to target underserved municipal, cooperative and joint action agency utilities in US.
Published: Fri 24 Apr 2015

GridLiance GP, LLC and Blackstone Energy Partners have announced the formation of GridLiance, a new electric transmission company.

Led by Edward Rahill who was the president of ITC Grid Development, GridLiance will enable its current and future public power partners to participate in the development of new transmission projects that earn a regulated return from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) or other regulatory bodies.

Historically, transmission-dependent public power utilities have been unable to invest in — and financially benefit from — transmission projects because they lack the scale, planning infrastructure, regulatory influence and the engagement necessary to effectively participate in the regional transmission organization planning process.

Enabling new transmission projects

Public power’s inability to participate equally with incumbent investor-owned utilities in the award of new transmission construction projects has left them without the ability to earn margins from regionally-funded projects that would offset rising transmission rates. At the same time, public power utilities often lack the interconnected transmission networks enjoyed by other incumbents because the regional transmission planning process does not always reflect public power’s needs.

Current and future GridLiance partners will be better positioned to influence planning studies and reverse this trend by leveraging GridLiance’s experience and planning efforts. As future projects reflect public power’s transmission needs, the grid will better serve the entire region and create lasting benefits for public power and their customers. Customer benefits include reduced energy costs and a more reliable transmission service.

GridLiance and Blackstone Energy Partners also said that municipal, cooperative and joint action agency utilities "can invest in new transmission projects with the assurance that GridLiance will take full operational responsibility and will adhere to relevant compliance requirements.

Public power utilities get support they need

GridLiance’s team has a great deal of experience in building and operating transmission infrastructure. GridLiance can provide more efficient system planning, construction and maintenance services, as well as meet all the necessary regulatory guidelines, including the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) reliability standards."Along with jointly planning, developing, owning and operating new transmission assets, GridLiance is working with municipal, cooperative and joint action agency utilities to identify existing transmission infrastructure that can be efficiently and cost-effectively upgraded and integrated into a regional transmission organization.”

GridLiance and its affiliates have entered into their first 30-year joint development agreements with the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) and the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA). Under these agreements, GridLiance affiliates formed to operate in the Southwest Power Pool and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator regions have the exclusive right to jointly plan, construct and operate transmission infrastructure for these entities.

“Partnering with GridLiance provides us with a crucial new tool and an opportunity to access the operational and financial benefits of new transmission projects,” said Duncan Kincheloe, president and CEO of MJMEUC. “It provides us with a much-needed, full seat at the table for planning and other functions. This relationship will provide benefits to all of our stakeholders, including putting the brakes on rising energy costs for customers and improving regional reliability.”

“GridLiance provides public power agencies with the opportunity to directly shape our transmission future, something that was previously not possible,” said David Osburn, general manager of OMPA. “With GridLiance’s support, we will finally have the scale necessary to participate in new transmission projects and will achieve the regulatory influence we need to participate in the regional transmission planning and award process.”