Electricity is from Mars, Gas is from Venus

The use of natural gas for electricity-generating purposes has increased in recent years. The MISO South Region alone has seen a 12% increase in usage since 2014. We expect to see that number continue to increase. Economics and environmental pressures are two reasons why.

The trend poses challenges for MISO and the power sector. That’s because gas infrastructure was largely built for home-heating and manufacturing purposes. MISO plays no role in gas-supply contracts between electricity generators and pipeline operators. However, we are working to ensure greater awareness and communication between the electric and gas sectors. Our goal is to ensure gas-fired units operate reliably during extreme conditions. That’s when pipeline issues are likely to occur.

Over the past two years we have been partnering with state regulators and other key stakeholders. We attend important electric-gas events to absorb and provide thought leadership around this issue. We want to learn, share and advance key ideas and solutions around electric-gas coordination. In fact, the Director of South Region Operations, Tag Short, is slated to present at the Southern Gas Association Fall Leadership Conference in New Orleans, LA.

So how do we create a stronger relationship between the electric and natural gas industries? Our efforts to advance gas-electric coordination include:

– Establishing formal communications protocols with pipeline operators that serve gas-fired resources in the footprint

– Aligning power generation scheduling with gas deliveries

– Implementing a fuel survey that brings transparency and situational awareness to gas-delivery

– Creating a mapping tool to identify and track pipeline issues

Electric-gas schedule alignment in MISO’s Day-Ahead Market will take effect on November 5th. The changes comply with FERC Order 809. Better alignment means gas-fired generators should have more opportunities to purchase fuel once they receive confirmation from MISO that they will be expected to operate the following day. This in turn will enhance reliability.

Much has been accomplished to improve electric-gas coordination. We recognize there is much more to do. MISO will continue partnering with stakeholders and working to foster more communication and coordination.

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