NorthWestern Energy Transmission Advisory Committee
December 20, 2007
Those participating in the Transmission Advisory Committee (TRANSAC) meeting included:
Larry Nordell Montana Consumer Council
Ed Weber Western Area Power Administration (WAPA)
John Leland NorthWestern Energy (NWE)
Kathleen Bauer NWE
Mark Mallard NWE
Kim McClafferty NWE
Ryan Munson NWE
Rikin Shah NWE
Keith Church NWE
Chantel McCormick Montana Department of Commerce, Energy Infrastructure Promotion
and Development Division
Cameron Yourkowski Renewable Northwest Project
Frank Jarvenpaa Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) (via telephone)
Ray Brush NWE (via telephone)
Don Quander Large Industrial Customers (via telephone)
LeRoy Patterson Martinsdale Wind Developers (via telephone)
Gerald Mueller Consensus Associates (TRANSAC Facilitator)
Standards of Conduct & Anti-Trust Policy
Kathleen Bauer began the meeting by reviewing NWE’s standards of conduct and safeguards and
antitrust policy. Both are posted on the NWE OASIS web site in the Transmission Planning
The meeting participants reviewed and approved the following agenda:
• Standards of Conduct & Anti-Trust Policy
• Action Item List Update
• Review of the Summary of the November 15, 2007 TRANSAC Meeting Summary
• Regional/Sub-Regional Activity Update
• Attachment K Filing
• NWE’s 2008-09 Local Transmission Planning Process
• Cost Allocation
• Action Item List Review
• Next Meeting
Review of the Action Item List
Kathleen Bauer reviewed the list of action items compiled from past meetings together with each
item’s status. The list was compiled in a spreadsheet format and had been posted on NWE’s
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 1
OASIS website in the December 20, 2007 TRANSAC meeting folder which is in the
Transmission Planning folder. Ms. Bauer also referenced a list of compliance standards to which
transmission planning is subject which was also included in the same OASIS website folder.
November 15, 2007 TRANSAC Meeting Summary
No changes were made to the November 15, 2007 meeting summary.
Regional/Sub-Regional Activity Update
Ryan Munson provided an update on the Mountain States Transmission Intertie Project (MSTI)
and Northern Tier Transmission Group (NTTG) planning activities using a power point
presentation available on the NWE OASIS website in the TRANSAC December 20, 2007 meeting
As proposed by NWE, MSTI is a 500 kilovolt (KV) transmission line to be built from new a
substation at Townsend, Montana to an existing substation at Midpoint, Idaho. Alternative
northern and southern terminals (substations) may be considered in future studies. NWE studies
have determined that MSTI can move 1,500 megawatts (MW) from Montana to Midpoint, Idaho.
Three study processes must be completed for this project: Western Electricity Coordinating
Council (WECC) Regional Planning Process (RPP) study; WECC Path Rating Process (PRP)
study, consisting of three Phases; and the NTTG sub-regional coordination planning study.
WECC RPP Study - NWE is nearing completion of the WECC RPP study. The WECC RPP
study will be complete when NWE sends its responses to the required eleven questions to WECC,
which will then start a 30-day comment period. The single and double outage contingency
studies, N-1 and N-2, respectively, have been completed and did not find any problems. The load
ability test study is not yet finished, and the angle stability study has not yet started. The existing
WECC RPP review group will disband after the RPP study has been approved by WECC. NWE
anticipates the RPP Study Report will be complete in January 2008.
WECC PRP Phase 1 Study - NWE is also nearing completion of the WECC PRP-Phase 1 study.
The Draft WECC PRP Phase 1 Comprehensive Progress Report was finished on December 15,
2007, and the final report should be available on in January 2008. Once submitted to WECC,
interested parties will have 60-days to comment on the Comprehensive Progress Report. Once the
Comprehensive Progress Report is approved, NWE will move the MSTI project into the Phase 2
detailed PRP study and will form a new WECC PRP Phase 2 review group. This new group will
review and provide input to NWE’s phase 2 PRP study.
NTTG Sub-Regional Study - In a parallel study process to the WECC RPR and PRP studies,
NWE and other NTTG members are conducting sub-regional planning studies that meet the
FERC Order 890 coordinated planning requirements. NWE’s studies will include two types of
coordination studies, MSTI only and MSTI with other new NTTG proposed transmission projects.
These coordinated studies will be complete in 2008.
A new group will be formed to conduct the NTTG phase 2 path rating for MSTI over the next
year. The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) phase 1 studies of MSTI are
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 2
underway. The single and double outage contingency studies, N-1 and N-2, respectively, have
been completed and did not find any problems. The load ability test study is not yet finished, and
the angle stability study has not yet started. The Draft WECC Comprehensive Progress Report on
MSTI was finished on December 15, 2007, and the final report should be available on December
Other NTTG Sub-Regional Transmission Projects
Mr. Munson briefly described the NTTG fast track transmission segments that are proceeding
through the NTTG coordinated planning study process. The segments are shown on the map on
the second page of his power point presentation.
• Yellow segments - These lines, called Gateway West, are joint project of PacifiCorp and Idaho
Power consisting of a double circuit 500 kV to connect the Jim Bridger coal plant to the
Hemmingway Substation near Boise and then to McNary Dam. The intended capacity of
Gateway West is 3,000 MW.
• Red segments - These lines are a joint project of APS, PacifiCorp, and National Grid. One
segment consists of either a double circuit 500 KV line or a DC line from Wyoming to the
Phoenix area with an intended capacity of 3,000 MW. Another segment is a single circuit 500
KV line with an intended capacity of 1,500 MW running from the Hemmingway substation to
the Captain Jack substation near Malin, Oregon.
• Grey segment - This single circuit 500 KV line is called the Southwest Intertie and is a
potential project from Midpoint, Idaho into Nevada and then Utah,. Its capacity would be from
1,500 - 2,000 MW.
• Green segment - This is a proposed Idaho Power 500 KV line from the Hemmingway
substation to the northwest with a proposed capacity of 500 MW.
Attachment K Filing
John Leland stated that NWE filed its Attachment K with the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) on December 7, 2007. In response to legal concerns, the following day
NWE filed a revision changing the formatting but not the substantive content of the document.
The filed document is available on the NWE OASIS website. FERC has announced that it will
receive comments on NWE’s Attachment K through December 28, 2007.
Comments on the Draft Version of Attachment K
NWE received two comments on the draft pre-December filed version of Attachment K from Bill
Pascoe on behalf of Great Northern and Wind Hunter and from LeRoy Patterson on behalf of
Martinsdale Wind Farm LLC. The comments, listed in italics, together with NWE’s response to
• Principle 6, Dispute Resolution - NWE should not prohibit raising disputes once NWE has
made a decision. NWE had proposed the prohibition to ensure that disputes would be raised in
a timely manner and thereby avoid unnecessary delays in the transmission planning process.
However NWE, accepted this comment and eliminated the prohibition language in the final
version of Attachment K filed with FERC.
• Principle 7, Regional Participation - NWE’s transmission plan should service generation as
well as loads. NWE accepted this comment and revised its filed version of Attachment K
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 3
• Principle 8 - Economic Planning Studies - Statements on pages 27 and 32 of the draft
Attachment K “...could result in studies of great importance to Montana stakeholders being
sent on to NTTG where they will be given insufficient attention.” NWE again eliminated the
statements to which Mr. Pascoe objected from the filed version of Attachment K.
• NWE Local Transmission System Planning Discussion - The voltage criteria and limitations
on the application of remedial action scheme (RAS) and overload mitigation scheme (OMS)
are not appropriate. This comment addresses aspects of NWE’s transmission planning that are
not in Attachment K. The voltage criteria and RAS and OMS application will be discussed
with TRANSAC at a later date.
• NWE Local Transmission System Planning Discussion - The voltage criteria and limitations
on the application of remedial action scheme (RAS) and overload mitigation scheme (OMS)
are not appropriate. Again, voltage criteria and RAS and OMS are not in Attachment K and
will be discussed with TRANSAC at a later date.
Calendar of Events
Mr. Leland discussed three documents prepared for this meeting and posted on the OASIS in the
December 20, 2007 TRANSAC meeting folder: “Calendar of Events and Study Cycle, NWE
Local Transmission Planning,” “NWE Economic Planning Study Timeline and Process,” and
“Study Cycle Coordination with TRANSAC and Public Meetings.” These documents relate to
NWE business practices and were not filed with Attachment K. The third document combines
information from the other two with proposed TRANSAC meetings.
Question - Is the decision listed for the seventh quarter of the planning process in “Study Cycle
Coordination with TRANSAC and Public Meetings” referring to the decision of the transmission
planning group or NWE management?
Answer - It refers to the transmission planning group. Our recommendations will feed into
NWE’s subsequent budget process and final decisions on them will then be made by NWE
Comment - When TRANSAC considers criteria, it would be useful to discuss both NWE’s
reliability criteria and those used by other utilities.
Response - We will try to do so.
Economic Study Request Form
John Leland reviewed the form that will be used to request economic studies. This form is also
posted on the OASIS in the December 20, 2007 TRANSAC meeting folder.
Question - Will information supplied through this form be considered proprietary?
Answer - No it will not be kept confidential as proprietary; it may be shared with TRANSAC and
Question - Who can request an economic study?
Answer - Requests are not limited to NWE transmission customers; anyone can make one.
However, these studies were not meant for specific generation projects, which are addressed
through requests for generation interconnections.
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 4
Question - Do you mean anyone can make one who is willing to pay $75,000 to conduct the study?
Answer - Subsequent study requests will require an initial study deposit of $75,000 to start the
study, but the requestor will be required to pay actual costs (if the actual cost is less than
$75,000, the requestor will receive a refund; if the actual cost is greater than $75,000 the
requestor will be billed monthly for the incremental amount). In its Order 890, FERC suggested
that transmission providers conduct five to ten economic studies at no charge to the requesters.
NWE decided to provide only two studies without charge.
Question - Who pays for the first two studies you will conduct?
Answer - NWE will bear the costs. I’m not sure how the costs will be allocated between NWE
ratepayers and transmission customers.
Question - Do you have a limit on how much the “free” studies will cost NWE?
Answer - No. I don’t have an estimate now for how much a study will cost. I do know that we
will need the services of a consultant to conduct economic dispatch analyses, and that qualified
consultants are expensive.
Question - Could the requester be a legislator interested in finding out how more power could be
exported to the coast or what is required to get 1000 MW out of the Great Falls area?
Answer - Yes.
Question - The form asks if you are an eligible customer. What is the definition of an eligible
Answer - FERC defines an eligible customer as either a network or point-to-point customer.
Remember, one does not have to be an eligible customer to request an economic study.
Question - How far will you go in helping someone fill out this form to request an economic study?
Answer - We don’t have a bright line for how much help we will provide.
Comment - You may want to consider briefing the Energy and Telecommunications Interim
Committee (ETIC) about the opportunity to request economic studies because of its interest in
Response - NWE agreed to bring this suggestion forward and look into the proper forum to
inform/address the ETIC.
OASIS Posting and Reorganization
Kathleen Bauer addressed this topic. NWE is limited on the OASIS website to one level of
folders. We now have three groups of documents, those for transmission planning, those for
TRANSAC, and those for NTTG. We are planning to revise the OASIS to create an archive
folder for old documents such as draft versions of Attachment K. We welcome your suggestions
for how we organize the website.
Question - Do you have to post NTTG documents?
Answer - Yes. NTTG wants all of its members to post its documents. In this way, should the
NTTG website be unavailable for any reason, people would still have access to NTTG
documents through its member OASIS websites.
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 5
Comment - You need only post original documents once, and afterwards provide a link to the
Response - This is s true and is part of the planned reorganization.
Question - Do you have to post the Attachment Ks of other NTTG members?
Answer - No. Each transmission provider will post their attachment K on their own OASIS
NWE’s 2008-09 Local Transmission Planning Process
TRANSAC addressed the following transmission planning topics.
Open Public Meeting
John Leland stated that NWE is considering holding two public meetings on its local
transmission plan. One meeting would be held after the base cases are developed in about
March/April 2008, and the other in November/December 2009 on the final plan. Mr. Leland
asked for advice from TRANSAC about the schedule and topics that should be considered in the
initial public meeting. This advice will be sought at the next TRANSAC meeting in January
Mark Mallard presented historic and projected summer and winter peak values for the load of
NWE system customers. The content of his presentation is posted on the OASIS in the
December 20, 2007 TRANSAC meeting folder. Summer load is projected to grow at 1.2% per
year, about 20 MW per year. Winter loads are forecasted to grow at the slightly slower rate of
1.1%, or 16 MW per year. How this forecast is disaggregated to specific busses will be discussed
at the next TRANSAC meeting.
Question - By system customers, I assume you are not addressing all loads in NWE’s control
Answer - Yes. Loads served by other entities such as the rural electric cooperatives and some
large industrial customers are not included in this forecast.
Question - Does your forecast accommodate weather fluctuations, such as extreme hot or cold
Answer - We currently attempt to include weather events with a 50% probability of occurrence.
However, we want to discuss moving to a different probability such as 10% (1 event in 10 years)
or 5% (1 event in 20 years). Last year, we experienced a summer temperature that would occur
statistically on once in 50 years. For every degree of increase in summer peak temperature, NWE
loads increase by 7 MW. In the winter, our loads increase by 3 MW for every decrease in
Load & Resource Data Request Results
Kim McClafferty summarized the results of NWE’s load and resource data requests made in
September using a power point presentation posted on the OASIS in the December 20, 2007
TRANSAC meeting folder. John Leland stated that next year, NWE will begin working with
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 6
customers prior to September in an attempt to improve the information they provide. NWE is
also planning to calculate the relationship between the actual coincident peak load and the non-
coincident load information provided by customers.
Question - Who received the data requests?
Answer - All network and point-to-point transmission customers, load serving entities, and large
industrial customers in NWE’s control area received requests.
Don Bauer led the discussion of scenarios using a power point presentation posted on the OASIS
in the December 20, 2007 TRANSAC meeting folder. During the next TRANSAC meeting,
NWE will discuss and seek advice about which specific scenarios to test.
Question - Under what conditions would NWE build additional transmission in its area?
Answer - NWE may build additional transmission in response to three conditions: signed
generation interconnection or transmission agreements, service for NWE native load, or
congestion relief. Other entities such as the Montana Alberta Tie Ltd. may also build
transmission in NWE’s control area.
Question -When do you include new generation in your transmission planning?
Answer - We include new generation in base cases when generation interconnection or
transmission agreements are signed. We will include other possible generation projects in
scenarios to see how they would affect the transmission system.
Question - Do you study all double contingency, N-2, outage conditions?
Answer - No. We study only credible N-2 outages. For example, if two lines are located in the
same corridor or on the same towers, we may consider the simultaneous loss of both. We do not
consider the simultaneous outage of two lines in separate parts of our control area, e.g., Missoula
and Billings, to be credible N-2 outages.
Comment - In a large system, such as NWE’s, circuit elements are often out, so N-2 outages will
Response - We study many N-2 events to aid system operators and maintenance scheduling, but
we do not build lines for non-credible N-2 events.
Question - Do you include load dropping in your planning?
Answer - We do not. Operators may drop load when left with no other choices, but they do so
Question - What is a reasonable number of scenarios for you to study in addition to the four,
heavy summer and winter and light spring and autumn.
Answer - We will study all necessary scenarios. What is time consuming is preparing and
analyzing each separate study, not the actual computer run time. Twenty studies is probably
beyond our capability.
Question - Do you have the means to take a quick look at a study results to determine whether
detailed analysis is needed?
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 7
Answer - Yes. We have a system with the acronym ACCC which provides quick analysis turn
around. We have also learned through experience which outages under which conditions cause
Question - What do you see the role of WAPA in your local area transmission planning?
Answer - We hope that NWE and WAPA will work together in conducting the planning and
reviewing its results.
NWE provided TRANSAC members prior to this meeting with a paper entitled, “NWE Business
Practice Cost Allocation and Refund Methodology.” This paper is also posted on the NWE
OASIS website in the December 20, 2007 TRANSAC meeting folder. John Leland led the
discussion of this topic.
As practiced by NWE, cost allocation is based on the principle of cost causation. As stated in the
paper, customers bear the costs of transmission system upgrades resulting from their generation
interconnection or transmission service requests. Customers are assessed the costs of
transmission upgrades based on their contribution to the problem causing the need for them.
Customers who upfront transmission upgrade costs receive refunds for those costs as they use the
transmission system. These refunds occur over a period no longer than 20 years. While
customers pay for the upgraded facilities at the end of the refund period, NWE still owns the
transmission facilities. The specific methodology used to set the refund payments will be
addressed at a future TRANSAC meeting.
Question - What is the impact of transmission upgrades on existing customers, i.e., those not
causing the need for the upgrades?
Answer - Existing customers should be held harmless by charging the transmission upgrade costs
and then refunding this amount to the customers causing the need for the upgrade. If NWE’s
native load is growing, transmission capacity must be reserved to meet the load growth.
Question - Could you build a financial model to simulate what the costs on other customers
Answer – Yes, a financial model could probably be built, but it is not certain whether or not a
financial model will be necessary because the studies that we are doing are to maintain system
reliability and not for rate treatment.
Question - Do all new generation customers sign transmission service agreements as well as
generation interconnection agreements?
Answer - No, but NWE recommends that they do. Some generators opt not to sign a
transmission service agreement which means that they have the right to input only energy into the
transmission network. They do not have firm transmission capacity and can market their
generators output only on a non-firm, day-ahead basis. This would require NWE to conduct
technical studies of day-ahead requests similar to those made by eastern independent system
operators (e.g., MISO). Also, customers who sign generation interconnection agreements
initially are assigned a place in the study queue for interconnection only. They do not have a
queue position for transmission service studies. Transmission service studies would define
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 8
required transmission fixes, if any, needed to provide transmission service after signing a
transmission service agreement.
Review Action Items
Items 7 and 14, respectively the cost allocation topic and the list of issues about which NWE
would like TRANSAC advice, were completed at this meeting. The list of issues was addressed
in the discussion of the document “Study Cycle Coordination with TRANSAC and Public
Meetings” which identifies topics for upcoming TRANSAC meetings. Two items were added to
the list of items remaining to be addressed at future meetings, consideration of informing the
ETIC about the opportunity to request an economic study and discussion of the cost refund
The next ETAC meeting was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 25, 2007 at
the NWE Energy Building in Butte.
Committee members provide advice to NWE as individual professionals; the advice they provide
does not bind the agencies or organizations that the members serve.
December 20, 2007 NWE TRANSAC Meeting Summary Page 9