State seeks study on ways to keep electricity reliable in U.P.

Aug 17, 2016

Michigan is asking its electric grid – known as MISO – to study ways to make electricity more reliable in the U.P.

MISO manages electric transmission in 15 U.S. states, including Michigan, and the Canadian province of Manitoba.  

State energy officials have asked MISO to study the benefit of connecting the U.P. to Ontario's grid, and improving the U.P.'s  connections to the Lower Peninsula. 

Judy Palnau, spokeswoman for the Michigan Public Service Commission, says that could improve reliability and reduce costs.

"Right now, Michigan has some of the highest prices for electric transmission in the MISO footprint," she notes.

Earlier this month, the state also asked MISO to study a possible emergency scenario during a time of peak summer demand.

Several coal-burning electric power plants will be closing in the Midwest in 2018. 

Energy officials are concerned that the reduction in capacity in the grid could put Michigan at risk of a blackout, especially if two of its nuclear power plants have to be shut down temporarily on the same day, as happened in the summer of 2012.