MISO Requests FERC Assistance for Grid Reliability in Response to EPA Rules

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO) Vice President of Transmission Asset Management yesterday warned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air emission rules pose threats
to power reliability.

In comments submitted for FERC’s technical conference this week on reliability risks related to compliance with new EPA air emissions regulations, the Vice President stated that proposed regulations will require simultaneous generator outages that may jeopardize electric reliability in the Midwest.

The concerns focus on the 2014/2015 compliance deadline for the EPA’s proposed mercury rule, which provides limited time for the installation of new emission control equipment or capacity replacement. To comply, generation owners must remove units from service simultaneously, which will provide inadequate generation resources to sustain reliable electricity supply. “As a result, 62,000 MW of coal units could potentially be unavailable for reliability purposes – all at the same time.”

The MISO submittal also stated a lack of confidence that there will be sufficient allowances available via the CSAPR allowance trading, which may result in decisions to limit operations by some of the generation fleet. “This may result in potential transmission reliability concerns that would normally be mitigated through market redispatch that may no longer be available if unit owners adjust their bidding strategies or availability to meet CSAPR limitations.” Other concerns include accelerated unit retirements, coupled with delays in transmission improvements, could result in inadequate grid reliability.

In a separate filed response to questions from FERC Commissioner Philip D. Moeller, the MISO requested the Commission to direct regional transmission organizations to work together to ensure that physically available transfer capability across regions is accessible to those who need and can provide excess power. The filing states, “The pending EPA regulations and potential impact on generator operations highlights the need for coordinated planning between generator owners and market transmission providers.”

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