(The Center Square) – With the threat of power interruptions this summer in Illinois, the debate continues on how to address the state’s power supply crunch.
The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the federal grid operator that covers much of Illinois and several other states in the middle of the country, said the renewable generation, solar and wind, has not kept pace with the generation capacity lost as fossil fuel plants have retired. As a result, the region may be short of the energy needed when demand is at its peak.
“The reality for zones that do not have sufficient generation to cover their load plus their required reserves is that they will have increased risk of temporary, controlled outages to maintain system reliability,” CEO Claire Moeller said in a news release before summer started.
JC Kibbey, Illinois Clean Energy Advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said global energy markets and the war in Ukraine are not helping the situation.
“This has ripple impacts that are hurting consumers and Illinois families right now, and what we need is affordable energy to do that, and clean energy is affordable energy,” Kibbey said.
Kibbey adds that regulatory barriers and outdated thinking by some utilities led to missed opportunities to expand affordable clean energy resources.
Former President Donald Trump told The Center Square Thursday that he is not so sure and said there will be problems this summer.
“Here is a prediction, brownouts and blackouts all over the country this summer,” Trump said because of the push for green energy. “Wait until you see what is happening. All these states that are going green, it doesn’t work.”
State Rep. Adam Niemerg, R-Teutopolis, said rolling blackouts should not be the norm in this country and something should be done to ensure there will be abundant energy available for Illinoisans.
“We need to get back to Springfield. We need to repeal the Green New Deal, we need to bring Ameren to the table,” Niemerg said of the downstate energy supplier, “and actually have a productive energy policy moving forward.”
Southern Illinois is among the most vulnerable places in the country this summer, according to a forecast published by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a regulatory authority that monitors risks to the power grid.
The area, along with large parts of Michigan and Wisconsin and other states linked to the regional grid, has been put on notice that it is facing a “high risk of energy emergencies during peak summer conditions.”
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