Clean Power Plan Study: Midwestern Electric Grid Is Well Positioned to Maintain Reliability and Lower Carbon Emissions to Meet EPA Regulations

June 08, 2015

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) -- a regional transmission organization servicing the Midwestern region of the United States -- is well positioned to maintain the reliability of its electric system while lowering carbon emissions in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan, according to a study by Analysis Group energy experts. The study, "Electric System Reliability and EPA's Clean Power Plan: The Case of MISO," continues ongoing analyses conducted by an Analysis Group team that includes Senior Advisor Susan Tierney, Vice President Paul Hibbard, and Manager Craig Aubuchon into the readiness of the national and regional power systems to reliably implement the Clean Power Plan's CO2 emissions reduction goals. "As we concluded in our prior reports about the PJM Interconnection region and the nation as a whole, we find that MISO is well positioned to use existing tools and operating procedures to maintain electric system reliability at the same time the region lowers carbon pollution from power plants."

The report notes that MISO -- the largest U.S. grid operator in terms of area served, and the second-largest in terms of electrical load -- faces complicated compliance issues due to its size, system diversity, and heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants. However, the authors observe that MISO is already undergoing significant changes toward retiring older assets, and has a history of state cooperation and an array of planning tools in place that will assist in the transition. "MISO's and others' analyses suggest that the more the states collaborate on a regional, market-based approach, the more this approach will enable the region to comply at a lower cost while also ensuring reliability."

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Read the related national and PJM Interconnection reports