UP electric utilities not expecting rolling blackouts this summer

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:06 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation released last month warns that the Midwest has a high risk of rolling blackouts this summer given the right conditions.

Though blackouts are expected in some areas of the Midwest, experts say they are not anticipated in Upper Michigan.

The report says higher temperatures and retiring coal-fueled energy plants could cause a supply and demand gap which would overload existing power grids. However, this may not be an issue for residents in the Upper Peninsula.

Cloverland Electric CEO Mike Heise says Upper Michigan generally does not use as much power in the summer as other regions of the U.S.

“Most utilities have a bell-shaped curve: their loads are pretty heavy in the summer because of AC and much lighter in the winter because people use natural gas to heat their home, here in the U.P. we are different,” Heise said.

Because of power supply issues witnessed in other regions Marquette Board of Light and Power Executive Director Tom Carpenter says grid operators in the U.P. have planned ahead for shortages.

“We have our own generating resources, we have the Marquette Energy Center which is three engines that run on dual fuels we also have a combustion turbine. Between these four different generators we can cover well over 100% of any of our needs,” Carpenter said.

Meanwhile, Heise says Cloverland is taking action to ensure long-term power supply by hiring an energy expert because there may be a concern in the future.

“We feel good about this summer but we still have some apprehensions for the future and that’s why we’re looking at what we can do to protect our area to not be as heavily dependent on the grid,” Heise said.

Cloverland says fossil fuel generation is declining at a rapid rate and there are not many renewable energy options to balance it out. This summer, however, U-Merc spokesperson Brendan Conway says customers in Wisconsin and the U.P. should not expect to be negatively impacted.

“Utilities always are preparing and making sure on the hottest of hot days we can meet our customer’s needs,” Conway said.

To see the original report click here.

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