Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, both proposed and finalized, vary in the severity of impact to our members and market participants. We work with our stakeholders to uncover the potential impacts of the regulations put forth by the EPA.
EPA Impact Analysis
Released in 2011, our EPA Impact Analysis studied the aggregate impacts four EPA regulations. The study revealed that these four regulations placed nearly 13 GW of coal-fired generation in the MISO footprint “at risk of retirement” in years 2015 and 2016. For example, some coal-fired generating units in the footprint will be retiring in the coming years because their owners have determined it is not economical to retrofit them with the pollution-control equipment needed to comply with certain EPA regulations.
Analysis of EPA CO2 Emission Reduction Plan
To ensure we continue providing our members and market participants with data and information about the EPA's plan, potential solutions and impacts, we regularly update our analysis to reflect current operational, economical and regulatory conditions.
EPA Surveys for Asset Owners
In addition to the comprehensive regulatory analysis that MISO released in 2011, we also survey asset owners in our footprint every 90 days to learn how they intend to comply with EPA regulations that affect their generating units. These quarterly surveys categorize the various types of pollution-control equipment that asset owners intend to install for EPA compliance purposes and convey the amount of coal-fired generation that is planned to be replaced by natural gas or other fuels. Importantly, the surveys also provide an up-to-date tally of how much generation in MISO’s footprint intends to retire for economic reasons.
Our surveys provide transparency as we work with our stakeholders to ensure there will be sufficient generation assets in MISO’s footprint on a going-forward basis.
Members of the Organization of MISO States (OMS) and our executive vice president of transmission, Clair Moeller, presented results of the latest 2014 OMS-MISO survey to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 18, 2014.
Gas Infrastructure Studies
The decrease in natural gas prices has set in motion significant changes across the MISO footprint and the energy landscape as a whole. Historically, the MISO footprint has relied primarily on coal-fired generation. However, this lower cost fuel is driving some generator owners to offer in their natural gas generators more often. As the primary fuel used to heat homes and run large-scale manufacturing operations, we coordinate with our stakeholders and industry experts to ensure availability of this resource for electricity production.
Through a series of analysis, known as our Gas Infrastructure Studies, MISO carried out examinations of gas supply, storage, pipeline infrastructure and flow patterns, and electric and gas interdependency.
System Support Resource Studies
While generator owners may decide to retire generating units due to EPA regulations, market trends or other factors, as the regional reliability coordinator, MISO is obligated to maintain reliability of the electric grid. The permanent loss of a generator can affect our ability to operate reliably. Therefore, a power plant owner seeking to retire or suspend a generator must first obtain approval from MISO to remove a plant from operation.
Through Attachment Y, and in accordance with our federally approved tariff, we perform reliability-based evaluations of all requests to retire or suspend a generator to determine the impact of the plant’s removal from service. The results of these evaluations remain confidential until the generator owner agrees to move forward with unit retirement/suspension. Upon confirmation of unit retirement/suspension, MISO posts study the study results to the Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS).
Discussions regarding the impacts of greater reliance on natural gas in the electricity industry primarily occur in the Electric and Natural Gas Coordination Task Force (ENGTF). The Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) hosts discussions related to EPA regulation compliance. Register to attend PAC or ENGTF meetings via the Event Calendar.