Electric Grid Operator Issues Stark Warning

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) released “MISO’s Response to the Reliability Imperative,” which is updated on a periodic basis to reflect changing conditions in the 15-state MISO region that extends through the middle of the U.S.  MISO controls the electric generation and transmission assets within its region and serves 45 million people.

“We commend MISO for this sober warning which explains the serious problems the grid operator faces in maintaining a reliable supply of electricity.  Other grid operators, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, FERC commissioners, and other officials have also been warning us for some time that the retirement of dependable fossil fuels, such as coal, is undermining the reliability of the grid in most of the country,” said Michelle Bloodworth, President and CEO of America’s Power.

“Replacement sources of electricity are less dependable than coal when electricity is needed the most, they are not dispatchable, and they do not have the same reliability characteristics that coal has.  For example, a coal plant is more than three times as dependable as a wind farm,” continued Bloodworth. 

“Before dependable electricity sources such as coal are allowed to retire, replacement sources of electricity should be in operation, they should be as dependable as the retiring source, they should possess other essential reliability characteristics, and any new transmission that is needed because of the replacement sources should be built, not just planned or under construction.  In addition, EPA should not issue regulations that increase the risk of electricity shortages.  These five steps would help prevent the reliability problems that MISO and others are warning us about.”   

View the Executive Summary of the MISO report here. For additional information about coal-based electricity, please visit www.AmericasPower.org.

America’s Power is a partnership of industries involved in producing electricity from coal.