Officials warn of possible controlled power outages
Pushing electric utilities to switch away from coal and nuclear power to solar and wind power could lead to electricity shortages and blackouts this summer, according to industry insiders.
Spread Diving facilities Reports indicate that the Mid-Continent Autonomous System operator, which oversees the power grid in 15 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba, is anticipating problems. MISO expects peak demand this summer to reach 124 GWh, but notes that only 119 GWh is expected. Utility Dive says the organization is working with member companies to prepare for worst-case scenarios. in statementthe system operator said Midwest utilities may need to purchase electricity from outside the area and impose blackouts on customers.
Energy consumer plans to close coal plants, and recent actions by another company, Entergy, to shut down the Palisades nuclear plant may exacerbate these anticipated shortcomings. Entergy, the company that operates the Palisades plant, announced in 2017 that it intended to close the plant. The final day of the power plant was tentatively scheduled to be May 31. That day came 11 days early due to a mechanical issue. This represents a loss for the case of 811 MW of generating capacity. The barriers produced more than 7 million megawatt-hours of electricity in 2021.
Consumer Energy, a state-regulated monopoly that serves nearly 6.6 million customers across the state, has asked the Michigan Public Service Commission for permission to close the last remaining coal plant, Campbell Units 1-3, by 2025. Pre-approved by the state – calls for the 1,560MW facility to be used through 2039, when its projected life cycle is complete. The company expects to replace the Campbell facility with natural gas and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and battery backup.
California and Texas produce more electricity from renewable sources than any other state, according to Energy Information Management. But they’re also known for their constant blackouts, having the most in the country between 2008 and 2017, according to Statista.com.
Consumers said they were not concerned about similar outages in Michigan:
“Consumer Energy is ready for this summer, and we are confident we have a reliable source of energy to serve our customers,” said Katie Carey, director of consumer external relations, in an email to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “MISO is looking into its entire 15-state presence and will answer the call if they ask us and other energy providers to take any action on the hottest summer days. This includes ensuring our power plants are operating at full capacity and being prepared to demand that large industrial customers use less energy if necessary. The thing is, it also includes asking all customers to voluntarily reduce energy use – which hasn’t happened in a decade. We trust MISO to assess how energy resources across the entire region compare to past years.”
DTE Energy, another large Michigan monopoly utility, serves 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan. It had a “decisive climax event” on May 20, according to the company’s Facebook page. Government regulators require utilities to notify customers in advance if they expect to reach their generation capacity limits and need to use less electricity.
A DTE customer reported receiving an email notification from the company. It reads, “DTE Smart Currents Alert: Today, May 20 from 3 PM to 7 PM will be a critical event. Critical peak pricing will be in effect. Your thermostat will be adjusted by 4 degrees to help you maximize savings. Questions? Call 888.871.0348 Start: May 20, 2022 3:00 PM Stop: May 20, 2022 7:00 PM.”
Customer rates during the critical peak event increase from 13.99 cents per kilowatt-hour to 95 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to DTE website. Like consumers, DTE is moving towards focusing on renewable energy sources. The company did not respond to an email requesting comment on the critical peak event on May 20.
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