GridLiance GP, LLC and Blackstone Energy Partners have announced the formation of GridLiance, a new electric transmission company.
The new firm will be the nation’s first competitive transmission company focused on collaborating with under-served U.S. municipal, cooperative and joint action agency utilities to jointly plan, develop, own and operate transmission infrastructure. These new projects will deliver important customer benefits, including lower delivered energy costs and more reliable transmission service.
Founded by industry veteran Edward Rahill, 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 (RTO) planning process.
Public power’s inability to participate equally with incumbent investor-owned utilities (IOUs) 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 lack, in many cases, 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.
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 each of the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) regions have the exclusive right to jointly plan, construct and operate transmission infrastructure for these agencies.
In addition to jointly planning, developing, owning and operating new transmission assets, GridLiance is working with Public Power entities to identify existing transmission infrastructure that can be efficiently and cost-effectively upgraded and integrated into the RTO.Ed Rahill, GridLiance’s President and CEO, stated:
“Public power is core to the nation’s energy system, with its obligation to deliver safe and reliable electric service to millions of residential customers and thousands of businesses. Despite the important role public power plays, these entities have been largely excluded from participating in the planning of and investment in new transmission infrastructure as well as the financial and service reliability benefits they provide to customers.”
“Through our innovative, low-cost operating model, we are bringing together public power utilities to create a strong, unified regional entity that can better represent public power’s interests in the RTO planning and project award process. Working together, we will have the necessary scale and resources to more effectively invest in, develop and construct new transmission infrastructure and ensure that public power is a viable competitive alternative to incumbent IOUs now building most of the projects. We are delighted to be joined by Blackstone in this endeavor and expect to benefit from their oversight and financial support, including their proven track record of successfully developing energy projects around the world.”