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White Pine Power Plant To Close In 90 Days

White Pine Power PlantThe White Pine Unit One electric generator in Ontonagon County will shut down in the next 90 days, as ordered by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.

The power plant is sixty years old.

With the power plant set to close, the System Support Resource payments of just over seven million dollars will be terminated.

State Representative Scott Dianda voiced his concerns about the closing of the plant saying the plant was in place for the backup and reliability of the electrical grids.

Two new power generators are being built and scheduled to come on line in 2020.

With the closing of the White Pine Power Plant, there are no more SSR payments in the state.

Here is the official press release.  The full statement from State Representative Scott Dianda follows.

Michigan Agency for Energy: Upper Peninsula electric ratepayers to see lower costs, improved reliability thanks to elimination of White Pine SSR payment

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Agency for Energy today said that the system support resource (SSR) for the White Pine electric generator will be eliminated within 90 days, saving Upper Peninsula (U.P.) electric ratepayers approximately $7 million a year through June 2018.

Today, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional transmission operator that covers most of Michigan, filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to terminate the SSR designation for the 20 megawatt White Pine Unit 1 electric generator in the northwest U.P. because of a solution proposed by American Transmission Company (ATC). Upon FERC approval, the SSR will be eliminated within 90 days of MISO’s filing.

“The White Pine SSR payment will be eliminated by late November, avoiding future SSR costs of potentially $12 million and resulting in more cost-effective system reliability in the Upper Peninsula, something for which we all can be truly thankful in the Thanksgiving season,” said Valerie Brader, MAE executive director. “Currently, when the White Pine unit goes down unexpectedly – as it did frequently during the summer of 2015 – there is a higher reliability risk. The new solution greatly reduces the risk of a catastrophic loss of power in the northwestern U.P. For planned maintenance outages, ATC has already shown willingness and the ability to adjust work schedules to protect electric reliability.

“The Michigan Agency for Energy appreciates MISO’s swift action to put ATC’s proposed superior solution into place, a solution that has near unanimous support.”

In July, MAE said it supported ATC’s proposal to reconfigure its electric transmission system and revise its operating guide in the northwestern U.P. The modification would temporarily return ATC’s system to the way it was configured and operated prior to 1998. The changes would eliminate the need to run White Pine as an SSR unit and comply with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability criteria and the MISO tariff.

Upper Peninsula electric ratepayers who will benefit from the elimination of the White Pine SSR are customers of Upper Peninsula Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Cloverland Electric Cooperative, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Ontonagon County REA, Constellation AES, Alger Delta Cooperative, Marquette Board of Light and Power and the municipalities of WPPI Energy.

For more information about MAE, please visit www.michigan.gov/energy.

Statement from State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) on the decision to close the White Pine Power Plant:

“I am shocked that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) has decided to close the White Pine Electric Power Plant, thereby putting Western U.P. families at risk for power outages. The White Pine plant currently provides reliable service, especially in situations when power can be interrupted due to ice storms and other natural disasters, and serves as a backup when other plants are down for planned maintenance. To take this plant off line now puts thousands of customers at risk until two new 170-megawatt generators are built and come on line in 2020. Four years of uncertainty and unreliable electrical power is unconscionable. U.P. customers need affordable energy and MISO claims that this has to do with utility rates. But we shouldn’t be addressing rates by eliminating power, especially when the plant has provided more than 17,000 kilowatt-hours of energy since 2014. Western U.P. customers deserve better than having to wonder if the lights will come on when they flip the switch.”

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