Dim Future Suggests Brown-Outs

An article by COMMONWEALTH magazine highlights a report from Independent Systems Operator for the New England grid (ISO-NE)  on the precarious situation we face in New Hampshire as well as in New England regarding electricity production.  ISO-NE is responsible for “keeping the lights on” and its recent report expresses some serious concerns.  Past policies in New England and New York have forced us into potential brown-outs.    Even if we accelerated the building of renewable energy (at extreme increases in costs to ratepayers) and poured millions into energy efficiency projects, it won’t be enough in the short term.  We need to be aware of our situation.  The main point made was that because of our reluctance to increase our fuel and electrical supply capacity, we are now relegated to fewer options that put us at greater risk of power interruptions.  There is perhaps an over reliance on renewables by the article’s author to downplay ISO-NE’s warning, but ISO-NE is in the business to project future needs and they aren’t so optimistic.

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The following article explains:

COMMONWEATH / Jan 17, 2018 by Bruce Mohl

“A NEW STUDY by the operator of the region’s power grid warns that without additional natural gas pipeline capacity New England will face a precarious energy future, where emergency actions such as rolling blackouts are likely to become a reality on several days a year.

The fuel security study by ISO-New England examined 23 different scenarios for electricity generation during the winter of 2024-2025 and found that in all but the most optimistic case some sort of emergency action would be necessary. In addition to rolling blackouts, where power to a rotating group of customers is turned off temporarily to reduce pressure on the grid, other emergency measures include tapping the system’s last-resort operating reserves and appeals to the public to reduce energy usage.

“Current trends are pushing the New England power system on a path toward greater fuel-security risks,” the report warned. It called for collaboration among the six New England states to address the risks, and suggested it may be necessary for the grid operator to seek authority to pay nuclear and oil-fired power plants more money to continue operating and not retire…”

For the complete article, click on this link:  https://commonwealthmagazine.org/energy/iso-study-warns-precarious-energy-future/

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