Missouri electric company to keep a coal plant running amidst reliability concerns, when will Xcel do the same?

A Missouri electric company has announced they will no longer shut down a large, 1,195 megawatt (MW) coal plant at the beginning of next month because it is needed for reliability. The power plant will likely keep it running until mid-2025.

According to Utility Dive:

Shuttering the plant near Festus, Missouri, could cause severe voltage stability problems, leading to cascading power outages, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator said in an application for a 12-month system support resource agreement that can be renewed annually.

MISO identified four transmission upgrades that are needed to maintain voltage on the grid, with the last one expected online by June 2025, according to the grid operator. Potential renewable energy additions or possible demand-response programs wouldn’t adequately address the voltage problem, according to the grid operator.

One issue with relying on new transmission lines to smooth over voltage problems is that transmission lines can’t replace reliable electricity generation. We have seen enough days with low wind output on the regional electric grid to know that the wind isn’t always blowing somewhere and that reliable power plants must be online to pickup the slack when wind and solar don’t show up to work.

This is why the capacity shortfalls on the regional grid require immediate action from the electric companies that are proposing to make it worse next year, including Xcel Energy’s plan to shut down Sherco 2. Unless new natural gas generation is added this year, this unwise closure will only compound the reliability problems we already face.

Keeping Sherco 2 open until reliable replacement generation is on the system is the only responsible course of action, and Xcel should make the announcement as soon as possible.

Want to help? Tell Xcel Energy and PUC to SAVEOURSHERCO right here!