WJMN – UPMatters.com

Michigan asks for study of electric grid reliability in wake of plant retirements

LANSING, Mich. – With declining electric reserve margins expected by 2018 in the state and region, the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today asked the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional transmission operator for most of the state, to conduct a study to help the state of Michigan better understand the effects of plant closures on overall reliability.

In a letter to MISO, Valerie Brader, MAE’s executive director, and Sally Talberg, MPSC chairman, asked MISO to assess the vulnerabilities associated with simultaneous planned or unplanned outages at the Palisades Power Plant and the Fermi 2 nuclear energy facilities. Those two facilities are capable of producing a combined 1,855 megawatts.

“We did not pick this scenario randomly,” Brader said. “In the summer of 2012, we had outages at two nuclear facilities while MISO was under a hot weather alert.  Despite those outages, we were able to keep the lights on. Now we have a lot fewer plants operating.  We want to know if the lights would stay on if we had the same thing happen in the summer of 2018.”

Citing the MPSC’s recent five-year outlook into the adequacy and reliability of the state’s electric generation capacity to meet demand, Talberg said the MPSC remains concerned that the Lower Peninsula does not have adequate electric capacity to meet reliability requirements in a few years.

“Michigan relies on imports from out of state to meet its minimum reliability requirements,” Talberg said. “This assessment would be a valuable tool for the MPSC, as it looks at what solutions are needed to ensure that customers can be served in a reliable, cost-effective manner over the long term.”

MAE and the MPSC are requesting that MISO conduct an analysis that assumes that Palisades and Fermi 2 are offline, and then determines for MISO Zone 7 (most of the Lower Peninsula) what internal generating capacity, what contracted capacity, what import capability, and what capacity and transmission service from outside of Michigan, could be available to serve Michigan load.

For more information about MAE, visit www.michigan.gov/energy

For more information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc.