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MISO Coordinates with Gas Pipelines; Says It Has 'Sufficient Resources' for Winter

Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. (MISO), the Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that covers most of the Midwest region of the United States and the Canadian province of Manitoba, said it believes it has "sufficient resources" to meet electricity demand for the upcoming winter season.

On Friday, MISO predicted total winter demand will peak at 103.2 GW, and 149.8 GW of capacity is anticipated to be available. The organization also said it anticipates having a 45.1% reserve margin, exceeding its own requirement of 14.8%.

"Last winter, MISO saw some of the lowest temperatures in 20 years across our footprint," Todd Ramey, vice president for system operations and market services, said in a statement. "Working with our members, we are using lessons learned during those difficult operating conditions to improve our ability to keep the system running during future extreme weather events.

The main initiative agreed on by its members is an "Electric/Gas Coordination Field Trial" designed to establish "regular communications between real time operations in MISO's control rooms and two natural gas pipeline companies that serve gas-fired generation in the MISO footprint."

MISO vice president Jennifer June Lay told NGI on Monday that the two natural gas pipeline companies are ANR Pipeline and Northern Natural Gas Pipeline. The organization said it was expanding the coordination to all 70-plus pipeline operators that serve gas-fired generation within its footprint.

Another initiative is a real-time mapping tool designed to show all pipelines in the footprint and the gas-fired units that are connected to them. "The tool consolidates all the critical notices that pipeline companies and other entities issue regarding the status of the pipelines, which will help MISO to better anticipate forced outages and maintain grid reliability," MISO said. "Additionally, MISO launched a tool to provide information on the gas pipeline system for MISO members."

MISO said it would also "work to better synchronize the timetable used to schedule next-day power generation with the different timetable that the pipeline industry uses to schedule next-day gas deliveries."

"This is just one step in our overall campaign to partner with our members to maximize preparedness for the upcoming winter, an effort that includes our first ever Winter Readiness Workshop."

MISO said it ran through several contingencies and scenarios to ensure the region would have enough electricity during the winter season. It also simulated an extreme scenario similar to last winter's polar vortex phenomenon.

The organization also touted a Voluntary Load Management, to give MISO "a more accurate picture of load modifying resource availability in the winter months." MISO added that it was also working to ensure Demand Response (DR) "is accurately priced in the marketplace, and that market signals are not distorted when DR is utilized during the type of extreme weather conditions that occurred last winter."

MISO covers all or parts of 15 states in the United States, mostly in the upper Midwest, and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

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