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Higher power prices in October highlight potential MISO reliability issues

Power prices in October in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator region increased 18% year over year from $25.34/MWh in 2015 to $29.79/MWh in 2016.

This increase in power prices in October comes after MISO released its third annual resource adequacy survey, in which it found that while there was adequate capacity to ensure grid reliability in 2017, the years of 2018 and beyond could see potential capacity shortfalls of between 400 MW and 2.6 GW, respectively. It is important to note that these potential shortfalls have been stymied by the recent Illinois Future Energy Jobs bill, which was passed Dec. 7. The bill will help to keep Exelon Corp.'s Quad Cities and Clinton Power Station nuclear plants operating.

With power prices being tied to the availability of resources, it will be imperative that MISO continues to build up its generation base in the face of potential coal and nuclear retirements in the coming years.

There are currently 18 GW of planned capacity in some stage of development in MISO through 2020, with a massive 11 GW of that capacity coming from planned wind plants and 6 GW coming from planned gas plants.

Scheduled retirements through 2020 total 1,610 MW, with 1,150 MW of that coming from retiring coal plants.

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