Arauco starts site prep
composite board maker Arauco has started site preparations for
North America’s largest continuous board manufacturing line in
North Live reports that tree removal has begun at the
location on 4 Mile Road near Grayling Generating Station.
The report says hiring for the 250 full-time workers is expected
to begin in 2018.
capacity outlook improves; long-term the same
MAE seek study
Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) says the Lower
Peninsula reliability picture for 2017 has improved from last
year's forecast shortfall, but long-term reliability is still a
concern. It, along with the Michigan Agency on Energy (MAE),
wants the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) to
conduct a system reliability study.
The Commission conclusion comes after review of a staff
report, which revises last year's forecast shortfall for
2017 from 520 megawatts (MW) to 270.
The shortfall takes into account projected peak electricity
demand and the ability of brick-and-mortar generation to supply
it, plus a required reserve margin.
Any shortfall can be made up with generating capacity in other
states, but the Commission remains concerned about what would
happen if there is an unanticipated power plant closure in in the
LP, or if capacity from coal and nuclear power plants in Illinois
suddenly become unavailable.
The MPSC and MAE sent a joint letter
to MISO asking for a reliability study to include a
scenario of unplanned outages at two in-state nuclear power
MISO files plan
MISO made it official last week: It’s moving to a
three-year, forward-looking capacity auction.
MISO officially filed the plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) in July.
Supporters of a more open and competitive market for retail
electric sales said the move away from a 1-year auction outlook
will result in a market for generation capacity that will
promote more stable, more long-term pricing that will lead
to greater system reliability.
The FERC filing comes days after an independent, third-party
monitor concluded that the MISO market for energy appropriately
follows natural gas pricing, but that its 1-year capacity auction
framework failed to deliver pricing that would ensure adequate
generation resources in unregulated states.
utility being formed
A new utility could be taking responsibility for supplying
electricity and natural gas to the Upper Peninsula.
Wisconsin Electric Power Co., the parent company of WE Energies,
and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation have petitioned the MPSC
to allow the transfer of certain electric distribution systems
and gas pipelines to a new, Michigan-based utility called the
Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation. (UMERC).
The MPSC considered the concept in March and opened dockets in
The move is significant in that it loosens direct ties to the
Wisconsin utilities that currently serve the U.P.; a fact that
has recently been seen by Michigan regulators as a speed bump in
addressing the region's energy issues.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission must also approve the
The action is the latest in a deal that includes the
continued operation of the Presque Isle power plant in
Marquette through 2020, and construction of a natural gas
power plan by Exelon, an alternative energy supplier currently
serving mining interests that use 85% of U.P. electricity.
wrestling continues over system costs
Meanwhile, U.P. electric customers on Aug. 1 started paying an
estimated $50 million in supplemental costs to keep several “must
run” power plants operating to ensure the lights stay on, drawing
formal protests from state regulators, utilities and those stuck
with paying the bills.
The payments will span 14 months and were levied after FERC
forced MISO to revise its cost allocations, which shifts the bulk
of the responsibility to U.P. ratepayers.
Under the plan the area’s largest utilities – Cloverland
Electric Co-op, U.P. Power Co. and Exelon, which sells power to
the regions mining interests – will pay nearly $41 million of
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the cities of
Escanaba and Mackinac Island have joined the Michigan Attorney
General, the MPSC, and MAE in filing a formal complaint, saying
the cost allocation plan submitted by MISO was not fair.
An association of Michigan municipal electric utilities expects
to get 25% of its power from hydroelectric dams once the final
facilities in Ohio are complete.
Hydro power for the Michigan South Central Power Agency comes
from Upper Peninsula hydroelectric dams owned or contracted, and
eventually from four dams on the Ohio River. The $685 million,
105-megawatt Meldahl Hydroelectric Plant came on line in October,
while three new facilities on will come on line this fall.