Midwest grid expects to have enough power for summer

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 23, 2013 3:11 PM

(Reuters) - The operator of the Midwest power grid said Tuesday it expects to have enough power to serve homes and businesses this summer.

In its summer assessment, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), the grid operator, forecast it would have a 28.1 percent reserve margin, which is nearly double the grid's 14.2 percent requirement.

Reserve margin is the percent of excess power generation above expected peak usage.

That 14.2 percent reserve margin is 2.5 percent lower than MISO's requirement last summer because the grid operator said it now has more access to power resources from neighboring grids.

As always, the grid operator warned it was possible for a combination of higher loads, unexpected generator outages, fuel limitations, low water levels and other factors that could force it to take steps to reduce customer usage.

But the MISO said, "This is a low probability event for the 2013 summer."

The MISO forecast demand in its 11-state market region would peak at 91,532 megawatts (MW) this summer with 117,267 MW of resources available to meet that peak.

That peak for 2013 is well below the peak hit in July last year of 98,576 MW.

The MISO said a majority of the generating capacity for this summer will be from coal-fired plants with more than 61,000 MW followed by natural gas with more than 32,000 MW and nuclear with about 7,300 MW.

The MISO said about 1,600 MW of wind power would also be available to serve load this summer, which is just about 13 percent of the region's roughly 12,000 MW of wind capacity.

The MISO said it does not expect federal and state environmental regulations to have any impact on the 2013 summer season, though the grid operator said it was evaluating these regulations' impacts post 2013.

The MISO serves as the reliability coordinator for Manitoba in Canada and 15 U.S. states from Montana to Michigan and as far south as Louisiana and Texas with a total generating capacity of about 194,000 MW. MISO's energy market, where about 132,000 MW of generating capacity participates, operates in 11 of those states.

The biggest power companies in MISO include units of Duke Energy Corp, Xcel Energy Inc, Ameren Corp, Berkshire Hathaway Inc's MidAmerican Energy, DTE Energy Co and CMS Energy Corp.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)