Dec. 11, 2017 – RTO Insider

The Illinois Commerce Commission heard two very different views of MISO’s Zone 4 at a workshop last week, with some speakers claiming the region has sufficient reserves and others saying it is in dire straits.

The ICC convened the Dec. 8 workshop to hear continuing discussion on the future of resource adequacy in the RTO’s Southern Illinois zone. The commission will hold another workshop next month and then issue a summary report of stakeholder positions to Gov. Bruce Rauner by Feb. 26. It was Rauner’s office that in part sparked the workshop after sending the ICC an Oct. 26 letter asking the commission to produce a white paper and stakeholder comments on the structural challenges of Zone 4 within five days.

Dynegy representatives repeated warnings that the company could shutter one of its eight plants in Zone 4. The company operates about 6.5 GW of capacity in the zone, which contains 57 utility-scale generating stations with a combined 16 GW of nameplate capacity. Dynegy said unprofitable plants could shut down as early as the 2018/19 planning year unless changes are made to support local generation. Merchant generator owner Rockland Capital also warned in workshop comments that merchant plants will be forced to exit the market in Illinois without MISO capacity market improvements.

“We are the bearers of the risk of deregulation,” said Dean Ellis, Dynegy executive vice president of regulatory and government affairs.

Ellis also criticized the short lead time MISO provides for its annual capacity auction, with the auction taking place in early April and the planning year beginning June 1. “We have to make investment decisions involving millions or tens of millions of dollars with as little as six weeks’ notice,” he said.

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