Utilities and independent power producers are preparing for the coming storm — distributed generation (DG). The impact of DG was the biggest takeaway at the bi-annual Combustion Turbine Operations Technical Forum (CTOTF) that took place last month in St. Augustine, Florida.
The big theme this year was preparing for the coming storm due to disruptive technologies, in particular DG. And who better to talk about grid pattern changes than an independent system operator (ISO). Tag B. Short, Interim Director, South Region Operations, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), detailed the big shifts affecting his region’s 180,000 MWs of capacity, 1,600 generating units and 66,000 miles of transmission.
“We anticipate the retirement of 10,000 to 12,000 MW of coal in MISO,” said Short. “But these coal plants already have all the transmission lines and natural gas supplies coming in so where better to positon another plant?” The problem is that it takes four or five years from a coal plant’s retirement to decommission it and replace it with a combined cycle plant on the same site.