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MISO braces for insufficient baseload generation - brownouts and extremely high costs expected


May 6th, 2022- The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the electricity transmission network that serves the eastern part of Missouri, has projected the need for increased, non-firm imports and potentially emergency resources to meet the 2022 summer peak demand with warmer-than-normal temperatures forecasted throughout the MISO footprint. The summer peak forecast is 124 GW with 119 GW of projected regularly available generation within MISO.


MISO said clearing prices in its annual capacity auction surged to $236.66 per megawatt-day from $5 a year ago for the Midwest subregion, which includes Missouri. Capacity prices for MISO’s South region were about equal to a cup of coffee — $2.88 per MWd.


This assessment shouldn’t come as a surprise, said MISO officials. JT Smith, executive director stated, “The seasonal assessment aligns with the cleared resources identified in the 2022-2023 Planning Resource Auction, which indicated capacity shortfalls in both the north and central regions of MISO and leaving those areas at increased risk of temporary, controlled outages to preserve the integrity of the bulk electric system.”


"While the government continues to push utilities to close coal-fired power plants and gas plants and move toward renewable energy, this is a reminder that baseload generation, primarily through the use of coal and natural gas, is critical for energy affordability and reliability," said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. "Coal generation is best at hedging against weather because some coal may be stored onsite, but natural gas is extremely important also. The sun is not always shining and the wind is not always blowing and we do not yet have the battery technology necessary to rely on renewables as a primary source of electricity. As more and more coal plants close, this is the result: higher prices and less reliability. While we are all fanning ourselves this summer because electricity is not available to run our air conditioning, or our plants must close because of insufficient power, maybe then our government leaders will decide to do something about it," he said.

With summer right around the corner “emergency resources and non-firm energy imports will be needed to maintain system reliability,” according to a MISO report. “Under typical demand and generation outages, insufficient firm resources are projected to be available to cover summer peak forecasts.”


Jessica Lucas, MISO’s executive director stated, “We closely monitor the many challenges the summer season can bring and coordinate with our members and other grid operators for situational awareness... Our members provide us with the details to determine our operational needs and we anticipate tight operating conditions this summer based on their insights.”


In a press release by MISO on April 28, 2022, they stated, "MISO’s preparation for the summer season includes training and conducting exercises with member companies to prepare for the worst-case scenarios and to implement lessons learned and best practices. During Real-Time operations, unplanned outages and other variables may require additional actions to maintain grid reliability."


Todd Hillman, a MISO senior vice president, said the grid operator is trying to take a longer-term view of changes in the power mix. “We want to be sure we stay as reliable as possible going forward given the change in the overall resource mix,” he stated.


For more information, see the 2022 Summer Readiness Workshop presentation materials available on the MISO website.




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