- An Analysis Group report examining the Clean Power Plan's potential impacts on the Midcontinent ISO finds the Midwestern grid well positioned to meet carbon reduction mandates without suffering reliability issues.
- The report pointed to flexibility built into the CPP, allowing states to find compliance methods that work for them, as well as an evolving resource base as reasons reliability would not be compromised.
- But the ISO will still face "complicated" compliance issues due to the sheer size and economic diversity of the region, with the 15 states mostly containing vertically-integrated utilities subject to state regulation.
Midwest states have a lot of factors that will help them comply with new federal carbon standards expected out in August, but it will still be a difficult task according to a new report.
"We find that MISO is well positioned to use existing tools and operating procedures to maintain electric system reliability at the same time the region lowers carbon pollution from power plants," the Analysis Group said in the report, issued this week.
The independent report was backed by funding from the Energy Foundation.
The Obama administration's carbon plan aims to reduce greenhouse gasses by 30% by 2030, and has given states flexibility in how they meet their specific targets. But "with or without the Clean Power Plan, the MISO region has to address relatively nearterm resource-adequacy issues," the group added.
Still highly dependent on coal-fired power, Analysis Group said the region has been undergoing significant changes in recent years and until recently had a capacity surplus. Ahead, more coal-fired generation is expected to be shuttered, significant wind generation is coming online and the region's transmission system will be expanded.
"The flexibility that EPA has granted states in designing Clean Power Plan implementation plans leaves the door wide open for states to propose in their plans the specific mechanisms needed to ensure that Clean Power Plan compliance does not compromise system reliability," the report concluded.
Estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration peg coal retirements at about 90 GW by 2040, about twice the expected rate without the new regulations. But this is not the first report to find the nation's electric grid will stand up to the changes. A Brattle Group report earlier this year also found CPP compliance was unlikely to endanger grid reliability. That report was commissioned by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ winter meeting.