MISO gas burn rose in August as coal and wind slid

OREANDA-NEWS. September 29, 2016. Power generators in the 15-state Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) area used more natural gas-fired power in August than a year earlier amid hot weather and a decline in coal and wind generation.

Natural gas in August accounted for 24.7pc of the MISO fuel mix, up from 20.7pc a year earlier, MISO said.

Coal, the dominant power plant fuel in the midcontinent, represented 48.5pc of the fuel mix during August, down from 53.2pc a year earlier, while wind dropped to 3.6pc from 4.3pc. Nuclear power held a 16pc share, marginally lower than in August 2015. Hydro power and oil made up the remaining portion of the mix.

Electricity generators have increasingly turned to natural gas this year thanks to low prices and ample supplies of the power plant fuel.

The average spot gas price at the Chicago Citygates in August was \\$2.75/mmBtu, 4pc lower than a year earlier. Meanwhile, gas delivered to Mich Con Citygates averaged \\$2.74/mmBtu, a decline of 7pc.

Average wind energy production in August was 2,737GW, 14pc lower than last August and down by 17pc from July, MISO said.

Total dispatched power from generators in the MISO footprint in August fell to 57.9TWh, down by 1.4pc year over year despite higher temperatures. But average load in August was 88.1GW, 4GW higher than last August. The increased load was most likely met by an increase in total imports from states outside the MISO region.

MISO, the second-largest US power market behind PJM, breaks fuel-source information for its region into three distinct zones.

MISO's north zone includes Iowa, western Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and eastern Montana. MISO's central zone covers Michigan, eastern Wisconsin, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. MISO's southern zone covers parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and southeast Texas.

In the central region, gas-fired generation in August represented 21.6pc of the fuel mix, up from 12.6pc a year earlier, while coal slipped to 63.3pc from 71.8pc.

In the south region, gas-fired generation accounted for 55.3pc of August electric output, up from 54.7pc a year ago. Coal fell to 17.4pc from 18.1pc.

Gas in the northern region accounted for 13.7pc of the fuel mix, up from 9.9pc, while coal was flat at 56pc.