MPSC allows Consumers Energy to speed up Tuscola County wind turbine expansion project

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today approved a proposal by Consumers Energy Co. (Consumers) to accelerate the expansion of its wind turbine project in Tuscola County.

The Commission in 2016 approved Consumers purchasing 19 wind turbine generators for its Cross Winds Energy Park II (CWEP II) and an option for the utility to buy 33 more for a future development called Cross Winds Energy Park III (CWEP III).

Consumers originally had set 2022 as the date to begin construction of CWEP III, but now has moved that up to 2019 (Case No. U-18345).

“The advancement of these wind energy projects will help to meet the expanded renewable energy portfolio standard set in the state’s new energy laws,” MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg said. “This also means customers will benefit from the declining costs of wind energy.”

Consumers says changes to the project timetable won’t affect customers’ rates.

The Commission also allowed Consumers to extend for 12 months its Customer Selected Due Date Program for non-residential gas and electric customers (Case No. U-18399). The program lets certain customers, including residential, select the monthly due date for their utility bills.

In other action, the Commission:

  • Established the time frame (Case No. U-15801 et al) certain utilities will use when allocating the percentage of customers who can be served by alternative electric suppliers (AESs). Under the state’s new energy laws, up to 10 percent of customer load in a utility’s service area can purchase power from AESs. For utilities serving fewer than 200,000 customers in Michigan, the 10 percent cap can be lowered to zero percent for a six-year period if none of the utility’s customers bought power from an AES in the previous year.

    In implementing the law, questions arose about when to start the six-year calculation period to determine the revised electric choice cap. The Commission ruled that the calculation period starts on April 20, 2013, and runs through April 20, 2017 (when the new laws took effect), after which the utility’s cap will be set for up to two years: the current year and 2018. Then, in 2019, the cap will be reset to 10 percent.

  • Ordered all eligible wireless telecommunications carriers certified in Michigan to file with the Commission by July 15, 2017, service boundaries of the areas they serve in the state (Case No U-18216). The information must be part of their annual recertification filings.

  • Answered three “threshold questions” (Case No. U-18197 et al) regarding capacity demonstration requirements and resource adequacy under the new state energy laws. First, electric utilities will have to make their annual capacity demonstrations by Dec. 1 and alternative energy suppliers, cooperatives and municipal utilities by the seventh business day of February, dates that are consistent with timelines set in the law. Second, a uniform capacity demonstration methodology will be applied to all providers and service territories. And third, the Commission intends to ensure that electric providers contribute to Michigan having enough power generation resources located in the state to maintain reliability of the electric grid.

     

    Statement of Sally A. Talberg, Chairman
    Michigan Public Service Commission
    June 15, 2017 Commission Meeting
    Item III.B.4 U-18197 et al.

    In 2016, the State of Michigan enacted a new statutory framework for resource adequacy as part of Act 341 to ensure that all energy providers — including alternative electric supplies, municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and MPSC-regulated electric utilities — contribute to the state’s long-term electric capacity needs.  Under this framework, the Commission must determine the capacity obligations for individual electric providers and create a process to evaluate whether such obligations are met. 

    This proceeding in case U-18197 provides a forum for stakeholder input on the capacity obligations.  As part of this process, the Commission is addressing three threshold issues in its order today to provide guidance for stakeholders.  One of these issues is whether there should be a “locational requirement,” or local clearing requirement, for resources used to satisfy capacity obligations, and if so, whether energy providers should be required to demonstrate a share of the overall locational requirement.

    The Commission is ruling that a local clearing requirement is required and can be applied to individual energy providers under PA 341.  The premise behind this provision of the law is to safeguard Michigan’s long-term resource adequacy and ensure that all providers contribute to reliability in the state. 

    The Commission is not convinced, however, that allocating this local clearing requirement among energy providers on a proportional basis four years into the future is necessary, equitable, or reasonable.  Accordingly, in our order today we identify guiding principles that should inform the proper allocation approach. 

    We also identify several alternatives for MISO, Staff, and stakeholders to consider such as phasing in requirements or allocating a share of the incremental long-term capacity needed to maintain reliability among energy providers.  This is not an exhaustive list of options but we want to stress that we need Staff, MISO and stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue to identify and thoroughly vet options that represent an equitable and technically sound approach.  This is complicated and has significant stakes for the reliability and affordability of our electricity in this state. 

    Finally, I want to reiterate the Commission’s interest in seeking technical assistance from MISO throughout this process. MISO’s active participation to date has been valuable and we look forward to their continued engagement. 

    We remain committed to finalizing the capacity obligations on the schedule previously established so energy providers and customers have a clear understanding of the details and can make decisions accordingly. 

     

For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

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