ISO-NE’s CEO stresses energy adequacy in letter to US energy secretary

ISO New England President and CEO Gordon van Welie this week wrote to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to underscore the importance of maintaining the region’s supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as it transitions to cleaner energy sources.

“Even with the successful development of extensive offshore and onshore wind as well as solar generation in New England, the region will continue to be dependent on resources with the operating flexibility to balance and backstop this variable renewable generation to sustain reliability,” van Welie wrote.

The CEO’s letter follows one the six New England governors sent to Granholm last month highlighting the importance of LNG to the reliability of the regional electric grid during winter. During periods of extreme cold, New England’s natural gas capacity can be exhausted by home heating customers. That leaves none for electricity generation, making stored LNG crucial for maintaining power to the grid.

Supply concerns have come to forefront with the planned 2024 closing of the Mystic Generating Station outside Boston. The future of a neighboring LNG import terminal is unclear beyond Mystic’s retirement.

Additionally, van Welie’s letter seeks the DOE’s support for the idea of the six states and ISO-NE developing an energy reserve for power generation. Such a reserve could help ensure energy adequacy during extended periods of severe weather or energy supply constraints.

Earlier this week the ISO and several of New England’s gas and electric distribution companies issued a draft problem statement and call to action urging steps to stabilize the LNG supply chain in the short term while developing and executing long-term plans to transition to cleaner energy sources.

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Industry News & Developments
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energy security, generator retirement, system operations, winter