LANSING — Governor Rick Snyder wants the regional electrical transmission operator to take a look at how better connections between Michigan and Canada could benefit ratepayers and reliability.

Officials from the Governor’s Office say Snyder asked the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) on Wednesday to conduct a study on the near and long-term benefits of electric transmission and generation expansion in MISO’s northern footprint. The request specifies that MISO study the potential effects of connecting the eastern Upper Peninsula to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario while simultaneously strengthening the connection across the Straits of Mackinac.

State energy officials cite the current transformation of Michigan’s energy infrastructure and changes in Ontario’s generation as reasons to explore potential opportunities for infrastructure that will make the state more adaptable.

Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) supported the request. He has advocated for a study like this for several years. Snyder called for a similar study in his 2012 Energy and the Environment Special Message. That study was completed by MISO, but it did not consider ties to Canada.