November 25, 2014

Natural gas remains concern for N. England winter

Submitted photo
Submitted photo
Grid administrator ISO New England's Massachusetts nerve center.

Electric grid administrator ISO New England said the region could be plagued by the familiar natural gas supply issues this winter, even though the grid has ensured there will be enough power to meet demand.

ISO New England announced Thursday it had secured 29,835 megawatts worth of electricity generation for the winter. That should be more than enough to meet the projected peak demand of 21,085 megawatts at normal winter temperatures or 21,705 megawatts at extreme cold temperatures.

Despite the large amount of output available from power plants for the winter, ISO remains concerned that New England won't receive enough natural gas during extended cold stretches, as the transmission pipelines bringing the gas into the region are constrained and also carry natural gas for home heating, which has priority over natural gas used for power generation.

Last winter, largely due to natural gas pipeline constraints, the region had record high wholesale power prices in January, February, and March.

ISO is trying to combat the natural gas issues through its Winter Reliability Program, which helps oil and liquid natural gas power plants buy their necessary fuel ahead of time, in case the pipelines become constrained.

Read more

Report: Artificial natural gas scarcity cost ratepayers $3.6 billion

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