White Pine 2 in Michigan can be retired now that alternative lined up

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator on March 27 told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission it will terminate a System Support Resources (SSR) agreement with White Pine Electric Power LLC (WPEP) for the White Pine Unit No. 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In December 2014, MISO submitted the SSR agreement, which covered the continued operation of White Pine 2. On Feb. 17, following a Feb. 10  stakeholder meeting to review the continued need for White Pine Units 1 and 2, MISO notified WPEP that White Pine 2 would no longer be needed for reliability purposes and approved the retirement of the generating unit.

Alternative generation, in the form of using the Portage combustion turbine generator that was on “Emergency” status, was discussed in a study report. That Emergency status prevented MISO from committing the unit for planned events (e.g. maintenance), resulting in the need for the SSR designation for White Pine 2. The owner of the Portage generator subsequently changed the offer status to “Economic,” beginning on Jan. 1. That change permits the normal commitment of Portage in the MISO market.

These changed circumstances were reviewed at a West Technical Study Task Force stakeholder meeting on Feb. 10. The continued need for the White Pine 1 and White Pine 2 units were discussed at that meeting, which included the consideration of the recently available Portage combustion turbine as a suitable alternative to renewal of the White Pine 2 SSR agreement. The results of MISO’s analysis were presented at the meeting. The results indicated that Portage generation would be adequate as a replacement for White Pine 2 availability and that White Pine 2 would not be required to continue operation. No opposition was stated to the termination of the White Pine 2 SSR and approval of retirement for White Pine 2, MISO noted.

MISO requests an effective date to terminate the White Pine 2 SSR agreement regarding the continued service of White Pine 2 to be effective on April 15, which is the stated end date in the White Pine 2 SSR agreement.

White Pine Electric owns these facilities located in White Pine, Michigan. These facilities include three generating units, including a spare that is currently non-operational, and two units that each provides approximately 20 MW of capacity. The White Pine facilities have two boilers that have historically been coal-fired, but have lately been fueled by natural gas purchased on the spot market.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.