Technical Considerations for Large Power Transfers Between Regions: An EIPC White Paper

EIPC (12/14/2023) (readMedia)-- In a white paper issued today, the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC) identifies some important technical considerations associated with determining an appropriate level of interregional transfer capability (ITC) to ensure the continued reliability of the transmission grid as system operators work to integrate an increasing level of renewable resources.

In light of the wide-ranging policy debate regarding enhancing interregional transmission capability at the federal level, the EIPC offers the insights and experience of its member systems, who are responsible for planning and operating the bulk power system for the Eastern Interconnection, to raise awareness of the engineering complexities that must be considered by regulators and policymakers when assessing the substantial investments required to enhance interregional transfer capability.

"EIPC believes policymakers should be aware of both the opportunities and challenges of enhancing interregional transfer capability," said Zach Smith, Vice President for System & Resource Planning at the New York Independent System Operator and Chair of the EIPC Executive Committee. "Enhancing interregional transfer capability can provide many benefits, but not without consideration of the challenges and costs that can have a significant effect on the cost/benefit analysis."

The EIPC recognizes that an energy transition is well underway and the electric industry has already implemented many lessons learned while adapting to that change. The current Eastern Interconnection transmission system reliably enables the delivery of economic transfers, firm transactions and emergency power purchases. A robust transmission system also helps to maintain reliability between regions during extreme events, when reliable power is needed the most. Understanding and planning to an appropriate level of interregional transfer capability will lead to enhanced reliability, enabling the continuous delivery of electric power to customers during extreme weather, fuel supply disruptions and physical or cyber-attacks.

"Enhancing interregional transfer capability is not a new concept and remains a valuable step to help ensure that diversity of both supply and load patterns are reliably managed and to effectuate economic transactions that benefit customers," added Smith. "Nevertheless, enhancing interregional transfer capability is not without its costs and challenges. Nor should it serve as a substitute for individual regions taking responsibility to ensure resource adequacy within their region."

The white paper concludes that these challenges, while significant, are not insurmountable – but should be considered by policymakers when addressing whether they should require additional ITC and how the grid should be expanded to enable such increases in transfer capability. EIPC and its members stand ready to provide technical assistance to ensure continued delivery of power to meet customers' needs in a reliable and efficient manner for the future.

The white paper is posted on the EIPC website at:

About the EIPC

Formed under an agreement by 18 planning authorities from the eastern and central U.S., the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC) provides a forum for interconnection-wide coordination of system planning activities of its member regions in the Eastern Interconnection.

The EIPC membership currently includes Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Cube Hydro Carolinas, LLC; Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Florida, and Duke Energy Progress; Louisville Gas & Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company; Georgia Transmission Corp. (An Electric Membership Corporation); ISO New England, Inc.; Midcontinent Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc.; Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia; New York Independent System Operator, Inc.; PJM Interconnection; Power South Energy Cooperative; Dominion Energy, South Carolina; South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper); Southern Company Services Inc., as agent for Alabama Power Company, Georgia Power Company and Mississippi Power Company; Southwest Power Pool, Inc.; and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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