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U.S. Midwest may have summer power shortages for years

U.S. Midwest may have summer power shortages for years

June 10 (Reuters) – The power grid operator in the Central United States warned on Friday that problems it may experience keeping the lights on this summer could also occur during the summers of 2023, 2024 and beyond.

The region’s grid operator, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), has already warned of potential capacity shortfalls and other reliability concerns in parts of its territory this summer.

The northern and central regions are at “increased risk of temporary, controlled outages to preserve the integrity of the bulk electric system,” MISO has said.

MISO operates the grid for some 42 million people in 15 U.S. central states from Minnesota to Louisiana and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

On Friday, MISO released a survey showing it could have a potential capacity deficit of 2.6 gigawatts (GW) during the summer of 2023 depending on market responses over the next year.

One gigawatt can power about a million U.S. homes on average, but as little as 200,000 on a hot summer day.

MISO’s biggest problem is that demand was rising at the same time generation resources have declined due mostly to the retirement of coal and nuclear plants for economic or environmental reasons.

MISO said it may only have 119 GW of power resources available this summer to meet a projected peak demand of 124 GW.

For 2024 and beyond, MISO said “the capacity deficits are projected to widen … due to declining committed capacity and modestly growing demand.”

MISO officials were not immediately available to say what the grid would do to fix this problem.

Sarah Freeman, president of the Organization of MISO States and commissioner with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, said in a statement: “States stand ready to work with MISO … to maintain reliability and resilience throughout this significant resource transformation.”

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