OMS-MISO Survey Reveals Tightening Reserve Margins

MISO, in conjunction with the Organization of MISO States, (OMS), conducts a voluntary annual survey to forecast the region’s long-term resource adequacy. The survey acts as a tool – providing visibility and transparency as to whether the MISO region will have adequate resources to meet consumer demands for electricity and reliability standards in the following year and years to come. Ultimately, the survey gives state regulators and utilities – which have the authority to determine whether and what kinds of resources to invest in, permit and construct – a regional perspective and timeframe in which new resources are needed.

To make this a little simpler, just think of MISO as your favorite franchise restaurant. I’m picking Famous Dave’s. In case you haven’t caught on, I’m a huge BBQ fan. Read our blog about the Value Proposition and you’ll see what I mean!

A restaurant, like Famous Dave’s, is never exactly sure how many customers may come in each night at each location. Instead, they rely on general estimates based on previous nights and other factors. This helps them to prepare for the upcoming night and for every other night after that. Without these estimates, there would be no way to know how much food is needed or how many servers they need working each night to adequately staff and supply all of the restaurants. The OMS-MISO survey acts in the same way.

The OMS-MISO survey helps to show stakeholders and States how well prepared the region is for the future and if there are certain areas that warrant concern. The survey results represent a snapshot of the current and future system conditions within the MISO footprint. These figures are likely to change as future capacity plans are developed by load-serving entities and approved state commissions. This year’s survey reveals a greater reliance on low-certainty resources (that is, resources that are not committed to MISO, and may not be available when needed) or utilities will need to secure new resources in order to maintain resource adequacy in 2018 and beyond.

This year, there was a slight increase of 0.9% in the Planning Reserve Margin. This increase was due to a one-time change to include smaller units with higher forced outage rates. The Planning Reserve Margin (this year at 15.2%) is the amount of capacity needed in case of an emergency so that people are not left without electricity.

2016 OMS-MISO Survey Results

  • The MISO region is projected to have enough capacity to meet consumer needs in summer 2017, but timely actions are needed for continued adequacy, with potential shortfalls in 2018 and beyond.
  • A 2.7 GW surplus for the summer of 2017, which could be reduced to 0.9 GW if recently announced retirements and suspensions materialize. These results continue the trend that was established in the 2015 survey, in which the region is overall resource adequate in the next couple of years, but becomes less-so farther into the future.
  • Certain locations within the MISO region will fall below their reserve margin requirements in 2017. However, they should be able to import needed capacity from neighboring zones to meet their requirements, a benefit of being a MISO member.
  • Timely actions are needed by members to ensure resource adequacy in 2018 and beyond.
  • To learn more about specific survey details and results, please visit the MISO website.

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