An evolving energy landscape is affecting the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator's (MISO) strategic plan, stakeholders said at MISO's annual meeting this week.
Despite a recent study that found that incorporating more renewable energy into the MISO grid would lower electricity prices for consumers, MISO stakeholders said the low price of natural gas would likely change the grid operator's generation portfolio.
"The generation mix in MISO's footprint can be easily attributed to shifts in energy policies," said Clair Moeller, MISO's vice president of transmission asset management. “In the late ‘90s, our entire footprint was coal, but as policymakers turned their attention to renewable energy, so did our footprint. Now, the industry is shifting once again, and we find our members switching to natural gas as an economical and reliable energy source.”
Uncertain policy for renewable energy is also affecting MISO's plans.
“Technology needs a marketplace - a framework in which to flourish,” Bryan Hannegan, environment and renewable energy vice president at Electric Policy Research Institute, noted at the meeting. “For renewables to take hold in the marketplace, you need a new playbook. These very fundamentally different technologies bring fundamentally different values to society, and we need more collaboration so renewables are a durable part of our energy mix.”