Newsletter: MISO says Upper Peninsula Electric Generator

This newsletter was originally published on September 6, 2016.

MISO: Upper Peninsula Electric Generator no longer needed, saving ratepayers $7 million

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) last week filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to terminate the system support resource (SSR) designation for the 20-megawatt White Pine Unit 1 natural gas-fired power plant. If approved, the plant would shut down by November 26. To ensure reliability, the American Transmission Company (ATC), which operates the transmission system in much of the UP, would reconfigure its system and revise its operating guide in the region. This would end the last SSR payment in Michigan, after the state negotiated a deal to end SSR support for the 344 MW Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette last year.

If approved, customers of the Upper Peninsula Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Cloverland Electric Cooperative, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Ontonagon County REA, Constellation AES, Alger Delta Cooperative, Marquette Board of Light and Power, and the municipalities of WPPI Energy should cumulatively see $7 million in annual rate savings. The Upper Peninsula has some of the highest electric rates in the nation.

Michigan Agency for Energy Executive Director Valerie Brader backs the plan, stating that “[t]he White Pine SSR payment will be eliminated by late November, avoiding future SSR costs of potentially $12 million and resulting in more cost-effective system reliability in the Upper Peninsula, something for which we all can be truly thankful in the Thanksgiving season. Currently, when the White Pine unit goes down unexpectedly – as it did frequently during the summer of 2015 – there is a higher reliability risk. The new solution greatly reduces the risk of a catastrophic loss of power in the northwestern U.P. For planned maintenance outages, ATC has already shown willingness and the ability to adjust work schedules to protect electric reliability.”

Not everyone supported the proposal, however. State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) stated “I am shocked that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator has decided to close the White Pine Electric Power Plant, thereby putting Western U.P. families at risk for power outages. The White Pine plant currently provides reliable service, especially in situations when power can be interrupted due to ice storms and other natural disasters, and serves as a backup when other plants are down for planned maintenance. To take this plant off line now puts thousands of customers at risk until two new 170-megawatt generators are built and come on line in 2020. Four years of uncertainty and unreliable electrical power is unconscionable. U.P. customers need affordable energy and MISO claims that this has to do with utility rates. But we shouldn’t be addressing rates by eliminating power, especially when the plant has provided more than 17,000 kilowatt-hours of energy since 2014. Western U.P. customers deserve better than having to wonder if the lights will come on when they flip the switch.”


New/Renewing Members


Sakti3, born out of the University of Michigan, has published more than 100 papers on battery technology, and methodically converted their numerical predictions, through process science and work on scalable equipment, into prototype solid-state battery cells that have high energy density. The aim is to increase the density of today’s most advanced liquid lithium ion batteries, while also maintaining the potential to make them, smaller, safer, more reliable and longer lasting. With Dyson, the team aims to bring solid state batteries into production.


Michigan Energy News

Consumers Energy adjusted its proposed rate increase to $170 million, down from its earlier proposal to increase rates by $225 million. The utility is able to implement the rate increase pending resolution of its rate case.

The Michigan Agency for Energy and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are granting $89 million in 14 low-income energy assistance programs run by Consumers Energy, DTE, SEMCO Energy Gas Company and numerous charities, Michigan Peninsula News reports.

Tim Peraino, President of the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative, penned an opinion article in the Detroit News against SB 437, asserting it will harm schools in Michigan’s retail open access market.

MichBio responded to a recent report from Professor DeCicco at the University of Michigan. The report claimed the rising use of biofuels in the U.S. has led to a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions associated with global warming. Read more at North American Clean Energy.


National Energy News

PJM Interconnection LLC, the operator of the largest U.S. regional power market, said it can meet the EPA’s Clean Power Plan carbon reduction standards with less than a 3 percent rise in costs, Bloomberg reports.

The United States and China have reached an agreement to ratify the climate treaty passed in Paris last year. The President does not need Senate approval to ratify this treaty, as it is an executive agreement, Utility Dive reports.

The Iowa Utilities Board approved MidAmerican Energy’s $3.6 billion plan to build up to 2,000 megawatts of wind power, the largest wind project approval in the US to date, and a sign that more larger scale projects may be coming before the Production Tax Credit is reduced in 2020, GreenTech Media reports.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) stated that if Donald Trump wins in November and tries to harm the wind power industry, he’d have to “do it over my dead body,” the Hill reports.

Nova Innovation deploys first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in the Bluemull Sound in Great Britain, the Guardian reports.

There are 30 reasons your car should be electric, CleanTechnica reports.

Micro-grid capacity in the United States are expected to double over the next 5 years, GreenTech Media reports.

Colorado utilities are now installing distributed solar as a part of their low-income energy assistance program, PennEnergy reports.

GreenBiz has a feature on the rise of solar in virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The ride-share company Uber is rolling out a new fleet of electric cars in London, Business Insider reports.

Plans for Australia’s first solar-powered skyscraper have recently been unveiled and submitted for approval. The plan is to have the first off-grid skyscraper, Architectural Design reports.


Michigan Energy Events
The next Michigan EIBC Michigan Energy Forum networking event will take place Thursday, September 8 at Rockford Construction in Grand Rapids. The event also includes a tour of Rockford’s operations and affiliated enterprises, as well as a policy update and opportunities for networking. The event is free for Michigan EIBC members; $25 for non-members.
The US Department of Energy, with help from NextEnergy, the American Jobs Project and Michigan EIBC, is hosting their Manufacturing Impacts Through Energy and Commerce (MITEC) Bootcamp on Wednesday, September 14, at Next Energy. You can find out more and register here.
The fifth annual Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass Conference will be held October 11-13 in Harris, Michigan at the Island Resort and Conference Center.

SAVE THE DATE: The 4th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held Thursday, November 10 in East Lansing.


National Events
Solar Power International is scheduled for September 12-15 in Las Vegas.
The Battery Show, collocated with the Critical Power Expo and Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, will be held in Novi from September 13-15.


Additional Resources
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant cycle is now open, awarding grants for renewable energy projects in rural communities and agricultural areas. REAP is open to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses. Grants can be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of a Renewable Energy System or Energy Efficiency Improvement. Rural Small Business Projects must be located in a rural area with populations of 50,000 or less. The Agricultural Producer Projects can be located in rural or non-rural areas. REAP Grants provide a 25% cash reimbursement of the total system costs, with a maximum grant of $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems and $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvements.
Applications for projects with Total Project Costs of $80,000 or less are accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. Applications for projects with Total Project Costs greater than $80,000 are accepted through Monday, May 1, 2017.
The Application Templates and Forms are available at USDA Rural Development Offices or the National Website at: under Forms and Resources.
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is home to PowerSuite, a suite of tools that allows companies a one-stop on-line portal to search, track, and collaborate on state legislation and regulatory proceedings from around the country.
PowerSuite includes both BillBoard, the AEE dashboard for managing state legislation, and DocketDash, the AEE dashboard for managing state public utility commission proceedings. Subscription required. is a national solar permitting database that provides information on permitting for solar in jurisdictions across the country. The database includes a variety of information, from average permit turnaround times, to information required to be included in the permit, to contact information for individual jurisdictions. You can browse the requirements for the Michigan cities included in the database here.
The U.S. Department of Energy is offering A Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment. The downloadable guide provides information about the various federal financing programs available for energy efficiency and renewable energy — making it easier for state, local and tribal leaders, along with their partners in the private sector, to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The Department of Energy has offers free public access to accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts or published scientific journal articles from projects funded by the DOE within 12 months of publication.