Forecast: Michigan’s Electric Capacity Supplies to Tighten

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The Michigan Public Service Commission’s five-year outlook through 2020 shows the overall tightening of electric capacity supplies, which includes the amount of electricity demand that utilities have to meet in both the state and the Midwest.

“We have manufacturers that rely on an electric supply being there on the hot days and every other day, so this is of concern for the commission,” says Judy Palnau, public information specialist for the Michigan Public Service Commission. “(The commission) will be focusing on being able to put in place a solution for the long term that will result in a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly electric supply.”

Despite the unexpected closure of a unit at DTE Electric’s River Rouge plant in November 2015 due to turbine failure, the commission’s new five-year analysis shows that the outlook for near-term capacity electrical supply is forecast to improve for the summer of 2017 in a majority of the Lower Peninsula.

In its analysis, the commission says that resources outside the zone are expected to be available to import power into Michigan, and that areas served by Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power Co. in southwest Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are projected to have adequate supplies.

However, by 2018, the commission’s findings show that the Midwest region as a whole will not be able to meet margin requirements if several electric generating plants in Illinois are retired.

“We have no control over what goes on in Illinois,” Palnau says. “But regionally, the concern is there for 2018.”

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