Plenty of power for summer, grid operator says
Officials with New England’s electric grid operator said Tuesday that the region will have sufficient electricity this summer, despite natural gas transmission line upgrades that will limit the availability of that fuel to run power plants.
ISO-New England officials said that under normal summer weather conditions of about 90 degrees, electricity demand is expected to peak at 26,704 megawatts. Extreme summer heat, which the Holyoke, Massachusetts, grid operator said would be an extended period of temperatures at or above 94 degrees, could push demand up to 29,042 megawatts.
If all generating resources in New England were operating at full output, the total amount of power available would be approximately 30,247 megawatts, according to ISO-NE officials.
Vamsi Chadalavada, executive vice president and chief operating officer of ISO New England, said the grid operator “has to manage power system conditions reliably every day of the year despite multiple uncertainties.”
“During March, April, and May, when consumer demand is typically lower, New England’s power plant and transmission owners schedule equipment outages to ‘tune up’ their equipment before the peak summer season,” Chadalavada said in a statement. “At the same time, starting in April, natural gas pipeline outages will also occur. Although electricity supplies should be sufficient, ISO New England will continue to monitor real-time system conditions and gas pipeline outage schedules closely throughout the spring, summer and fall months.”
Work on Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market natural gas pipeline expansion project is scheduled to take place between April and November. The expansion project, which includes a route through western and northern Connecticut, is expected to be completed in November, according to the company.