What is the outlook for MPW’s current and future generating assets?
The retirement process for Unit 8A has started, however the retirement for Units 7 and 8 have been deferred. Due to the shortages of dispatchable generation in the MISO footprint, Units 7 and 8 will remain available as “peaking units” – running only when significant grid conditions exist. The run time for those units after May 2023 is expected to be minimal.
MPW’s new 161k transmission line to the north of Muscatine has provided additional voltage support, allowing for the transition of Units 7 and 8 to peaking units, and then eventual retirement.
In addition to renewable sources like South Fork Wind and MPW’s first utility-scale solar array, Muscatine Solar 1, a combined heat and power (CHP) unit is being researched to replace Unit 9.
A CHP unit produces electrical and thermal energy from a single fuel source. A CHP unit captures heat normally lost in the products of electricity and uses it to create steam for an industrial process. By capturing and using the heat otherwise lost, a CHP unit can achieve efficiencies of 65-75% compared to 30-50% for typical technologies.
Due to this efficiency, CHP units have been endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).
MPW has been evaluating different options for the CHP units with a wide range of energy outputs. Although assessment is still ongoing, smaller units have shown promising results in the evaluation of options.
The CHP unit will be sized to cover a portion of MPW’s local load demands. Increased renewables and grid purchases will supplement the demand, leaving MPW the flexibility to adopt new technologies as they become viable.