MISO system support deal for two Escanaba units in Michigan to end in June

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator on April 14 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a notice of termination for a System Support Resources (SSR) agreement with the City of Escanaba, Mich.

This SSR provided for the continued availability of two generating units under MISO’s Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff. The initial SSR contained a one-year term that began in June 2012. The agreement covered the continued operation of Escanaba’s Units 1 and 2, both 12.5-MW coal-fired steam units that were subject to an Attachment Y retirement/suspenrsion notice. In that original SSR deal, MISO provided the city with notice that MISO may need the SSR units for an additional period. The term in the resulting first renewal of the SSR agreement began on June 15, 2013, and ended on June 14, 2014. Then there was a second renewal of the SSR agreement that began on June 15, 2014, and is to end on June 14, 2015.

MISO had reported that completion of ATC’s “Chandler-Old Mead Road project and the Chalk Hills-Old Mead Road 138 kV line of the Bay Lake project” (more recently described as the Holmes-Old Mead Road project) was expected to resolve the need for the Escanaba SSR units. The last of these transmission reliability projects is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2016.

At the time MISO transmitted the second revised SSR agreement, the city’s Attachment Y Notice specified that the units would return from suspension as of June 15, 2015. Generating units are permitted to return to service no later than three years following the date stated in an Attachment Y notice. In December 2014, the city notified MISO that it did not want to return the SSR units to commercial operation in June 2015. The noticed date of retirement for the SSR Units is June 15, 2015.

On Feb. 2 of this year, elements of the site that houses the SSR units, a combustion turbine generating unit, and ancillary facilities were damaged. The SSR units were then placed on Generator Forced Outage status. The damage was inspected, and an update to the situation was reported to MISO on March 6. At that time, the city reported to MISO on mitigation efforts that could be undertaken to partly restore the SSR units to service. Consultation between the city and MISO revealed that the SSR units themselves remain undamaged, but damage to the city’s equipment needed for the SSR Units to interconnect to the transmission system required the city to place the SSR units on Generator Forced Outage status. The city’s steam units were SSR-designated based upon transmission reliability issues in shoulder and summer peak conditions. Upon inquiry by MISO regarding repairs, the city informed MISO that it did not intend to repair or otherwise make improvements in response so that the SSR units could be removed from Generator Forced Outage status. MISO was informed that 20 MW from the SSR units could be provided by December 2015 if approval to improve the city’s facilities was received by approximately mid-June.

“MISO conducted further studies in response to the City’s notice of retirement that has an effective date of June 15, 2015,” the notice said. “The studies were conducted to determine if the SSR Units would be needed for an additional period if repairs to the plant was undertaken and the SSR Units were returned to service. Such a scenario could only occur if repair/replacement of the City’s facilities were paid by load serving entities in the area since the City does not have plans to repair/replace facilities otherwise. Such repair/replacement of the City’s facilities would leave the SSR Units inaccessible for reliability purposes until the repair work could be completed at the end of 2015.

“MISO studies, in addition to consultation with American Transmission Company (‘ATC’) representatives, show that the unavailability of the City’s two steam generating units during the possible availability window in 2016 will not impair or delay the Holmes–Old Mead Road transmission upgrades that are in progress and that finally resolve the reliability issues. Outages planned by ATC in 2015, during the period when the City states repairs would need to be undertaken to remove its facilities from Forced Outage status, can be limited to activities that are absolutely necessary (including those for completion of the Holmes–Old Mead Road project). Some of the outages necessary for completion of this work will put load at increased risk in the Upper Peninsula. For the 2016 period when the generating units could be rendered able to operate, ATC can modify its Holmes–Old Mead Road construction plans, perform hot line work to perform transmission maintenance that cannot be deferred, and defer planned outages until the completion of the Holmes–Old Mead Road project. Transmission outage projects that could not be deferred will require revised construction plans and outage scheduling changes based on of the prevailing system conditions in order to minimize the risk of shedding load.

“MISO seeks a waiver of the regulation and an order whereby the Second Restated SSR Agreement is terminated at the natural end of that SSR Agreement. MISO’s submission in this docket follows from its extensive reliability review of the situation, including consultations with ATC personnel. The result of the termination will be that costs associated with the City’s steam generating units will no longer be SSR costs. Persons affected (i.e. Load Serving Entities) who would be assigned costs pursuant to Schedule 43 will no longer be assigned those costs.”

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.