“Arctic temperatures are burning a hole in New Englanders’ pockets,” according to a story in today’s Hartford Courant.
“Once again, the ability of the region’s natural gas pipeline to handle demand is at the center of a debate between the industry and environmentalists. Advocates for tougher emissions standards say hydropower, solar and wind are the long-term solutions,” says the Courant.
“Temperatures have been stuck in the single digits for nearly a week, forcing furnaces to run nearly without pause. Forecasters say that after a brief exit later this week, the arctic plunge will return this weekend,” reports the Courant.
“An immediate result is a spike in demand for natural gas, which accounts for about 45 percent of power as a primary fuel in the region,” according to grid operator ISO-New England. “Gas pipelines are struggling to handle the load.”
“Particularly on the coldest days, little to no pipeline capacity remains available for sale to power generators, putting significant amounts of natural-gas-fired generation at risk of not being able to get fuel when needed,” ISO said.
“ISO-New England worked out rules since 2013-14 to avoid significant price spikes. Some power plants are given incentives to keep liquefied natural gas or oil on site to make sure generators have sufficient fuel.”
“The “winter reliability program” provides incentives for oil-fired generators to stock up on oil before winter began and replenish fuel before March 1.”
“However, the sustained cold is requiring round-the-clock usage of some of these oil-fired generators and some are already running short on fuel.”
Click here to read the original article from the Courant.