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New England Predicted to Have Enough Power this Winter, Despite Capacity Concerns

ISO New England predicts the region will have enough generation capacity this winter, despite multiple generation retirements and the probability of fuel constraints for natural gas-fired generation.

According to EIA, the U.S. is well supplied in regard to natural gas and power markets going into the season. New England currently has approximately 350 generators with a capacity of 31,000 MW and natural gas storage is above the five-year average.

Organized markets across New England all the way over to California, have also made the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a proposal for steps being taken to meet demand this summer.

The proposal supports stronger gas monitoring programs, altering day-ahead markets to align with power and gas days, the continuation of the Winter Reliability Program, and increased information sharing between the sectors.

However, even with these steps, weather can be unpredictable and various challenges remain. Certain areas may see still experience struggle.

New England’s gas infrastructure is insufficient and could possibly possible natural gas pipeline constraints, as they have in the past when demand is at its highest. These periods are traditionally when the region experiences extremely cold temperatures and more spaces use power for heating needs.

Although constraints are a concern, the region appears to be better suited this winter than in 2015, when half of the power was generated by natural gas.  

Natural gas pipeline capacity has been increased and is expected to be online next month, which will add about 340,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day.  This is temporary as non-gas resources retire and gas-fired generation takes over.


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