New report prompts summer reliability concerns
In May, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released a reliability report indicating that multiple states, including Iowa, are at an increased risk this summer for power generation shortfalls.
Local, state, and national headlines have been warning of possible power outages based on the report's findings.
While the information in this report warrants awareness and consideration, there is no reason to panic.
As winter storm Uri showed us when it brought record cold temperatures to Texas in February 2021, weather conditions elsewhere in the country can directly impact our local electric supply. During that storm, a lack of generation coupled with increased demand forced grid operators to call for rolling blackouts across the region. While these outages were brief, they demonstrated how generation supply issues hundreds of miles away can impact reliability here at home.
In this latest report, NERC raised concerns regarding several regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and their challenges related to electric generation and transmission this summer. NERC placed Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) in a "high risk" category for electric generation/capacity shortfalls this summer. RTO Southwest Power Pool (SPP) was identified as "elevated risk."
Midland receives wholesale power from both Corn Belt Power Cooperative in the SPP market and Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) in the MISO market.
NERC outlined the following factors leading to these risk levels:
• Storm damage to a key MISO transmission line connecting the MISO northern and southern areas.
• A capacity shortfall in MISO, driven by peak demand increase and less baseload generation capacity than last summer.
• Above-average regional temperatures and drought contributing to high demand and lower than average output from hydro generators.
• Supply chain challenges leading to difficulty securing fuels and other key resources.
• Potential cybersecurity threats.
What does this mean for Midland and our members?
Midland Power is aware of the NERC report and is working closely with our wholesale power providers to plan for any potential controlled power outages.
On the CIPCO side, MISO is facing a generation reserves shortfall this summer, resulting in a higher risk of energy emergencies during peak summer conditions. Should such a shortfall occur, MISO will call on CIPCO to initiate a series of controlled power outages, rotating hourly through their 13 member distribution cooperatives.
Should Midland be called upon to shed load, we will take nine of our substations offline, impacting roughly 20 percent of our meters. These substations were selected due to their high load characteristics and minimal impact on critical public services and healthcare facilities.
Any interruptions would likely last around an hour. On the Corn Belt side, SPP reported in May that they project enough generation to meet summer peak demand. However, that doesn’t eliminate the risk of an isolated energy emergency alert (EEA) that could be prompted by a weather event or unplanned generation or transmission outage.
Similar to CIPCO, Corn Belt’s outages would be rotating. However, they would only affected one Midland substation at a time and a few hundred meters each hour. Should either RTO declare an energy emergency, Midland will work to notify our members via our social media channels, email, text messages, and phone calls. Members are encouraged to sign up for SmartHub at MidlandPower.SmartHub.coop and enroll for service notifications for up-to-date information.
What is Midland doing?
Midland continues to advocate for an "all-of-theabove" approach to generation planning, ensuring a balanced mix of renewable energy sources alongside reliable baseload generation sources.
Electric cooperative families and businesses expect the lights to stay on at a price they can afford. To maintain the reliability of your power supply, we must follow a strategy that includes renewable energy, as well as dependable resources we rely on including coal, natural gas, and hydropower. is diverse energy mix is essential to meeting those expectations day in and day out.
We are here to provide you with safe, reliable, and affordable electricity. As we have for the last 30 years, we will continue to advocate on your behalf and do everything we can to continue to live up to that mission