CARMEL, Ind., Dec. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The results of the latest phase of a multi-faceted analysis of natural gas infrastructure commissioned by MISO were released today. The study forecasts continued growth in gas demand for power generation throughout the MISO footprint—driven by an aging generation fleet, competitive gas prices and environmental regulations—and a positive outlook for access to gas pipeline capacity, with isolated exceptions.
"Over the past two years, growth in shale gas production has dramatically altered the natural gas supply landscape," said John Lawhorn, Senior Director of Policy and Economic Studies at MISO. The Phase III study highlights the impacts of this paradigm shift, including the transition of the Midwest from being a by-way to a destination for gas sourced from an increasingly diverse supply portfolio. The analysis also forecasts continued access to numerous gas supply sources for end users in MISO South, due to an exceptionally well-connected pipeline network there.
MISO notes that these positive trends do not alleviate near-term electric generation capacity concerns. "Improved gas supply and transportation does not automatically translate to an increase in gas-fired capacity in the MISO footprint; uncertainty surrounding commitments to build new capacity continues to persist," Lawhorn said. Furthermore, investment is still needed to address existing area-specific constraints on Midwestern gas pipelines. The report goes on to say that increasing reliance upon Northeastern gas imports will require new or expanded infrastructure into the Midwest.
MISO plans to work with its stakeholders, state and federal regulators, and the natural gas industry to address the report's conclusions. The RTO also remains engaged on many fronts with efforts aimed at improving inter-industry coordination. The Electric and Natural Gas Coordination Task Force, a MISO stakeholder forum established in late 2012, continues to provide a forum for exploring opportunities and addressing issues.
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The Phase III is the third in a series of MISO analyses aimed at building a better understanding of a transitioning electric generation fleet in the context of evolving natural gas infrastructure and operations. Phase I and II were published in early and mid-2012, respectively. Greg Peters, President of EnVision Energy, served as the lead consultant for all three study efforts. The expertise of Bentek Energy, as study subcontractor, was also drawn upon for pipeline flow data, trend analysis and gas system modeling.
MISO ensures reliable operation of, and equal access to high-voltage power lines in 11 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO manages one of the world's largest energy markets, with $18.4 billion in gross annual market charges. MISO was approved as the nation's first regional transmission organization in 2001. The not-for-profit 501(C)(4) organization is governed by an independent Board of Directors and is headquartered in Carmel, Ind., with operations centers in Carmel and St. Paul, Minn. Membership is voluntary.