By: Robert Walton

A cold snap in January forced offline almost 10 GW of capacity in the southern region of the Midcontinent ISO, spiking prices and revealing weaknesses in the network of generators and transmission, Platts reports. In response, the grid operator’s independent market monitor said a lack of authority to manage resources played a big part in that problem.

During a frigid period last month, MISO advised that cold temperatures were pushing energy demand close to the system’s available resources. The Louisiana Public Service Commission has called for an investigation into the conservation warning‘s causes.

Grid officials last year said they expected to have sufficient generation to meet winter peak demand, about 142 GW in total. But a cold snap set a new record for winter peak demand in the ISO’s southern region.

The lights stayed on in southern MISO, but not because generators stepped in or customers stepped up: MISO South began importing energy from other regions.

Platts reports a delayed response to demand response calls limited the resource’s effectiveness, and 9.5 GW of the region’s capacity was in a forced outage. This has led MISO’s independent market monitor to call for additional authorities for the grid operator to manage outages.

MISO went into the winter with a projected reserve margin of 28.3% to 37.3%, with resource outages, load and limited transmission, all making a precise figure difficult to reach. The system is looking for new efficiencies which can be tapped.

The MISO board of directors this month approved a $130 million transmission investment to relieve system congestion in East Texas. Officials say the project will help bring economic benefits to a transmission-constrained area.

The Hartburg-Sabine Junction project includes construction of a 500-kV line with a new substation in East Texas, along with reconfiguring the existing Sabine- McFadden and Sabine-Nederland transmission lines into the new substation.



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