Next Time New England Will Need An Even Stronger 4th Quarter

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


The New England Patriots did the unimaginable with their come from behind win. The New England states will need an even better 4th quarter energy-wise.

Tom Brady did it again with a stunning victory in the 4th quarter of this year’s Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Tom Brady is not available to save New England and New York energy game. These states are collectively about five touchdowns behind with two minutes to play thanks to their asinine political correctness. They’ll only survive by making themselves more dependent on foreign sources of oil and gas and at great cost.

New England

Could Brady do it again?

We recently covered this issue with posts here and here. Another story entitled “2 Minutes To Midnight – New York, New England Will Need More Gas For Power” that appears on the RBN Energy LLC blog, though, illustrates just how deep the doo-doo really is. The article, written by Housley Carr, deserves to be read in full but here are some key excerpts (emphasis added):

So far, relatively mild weather this winter has insulated New England natural gas consumers from pipeline capacity-related price spikes that occurred during cold snaps in previous winters. And even if another polar vortex were to happen, it’s likely the regional electric grid operator’s Winter Reliability Program to shift gas-fired generators from pipeline gas to stockpiled oil or LNG would keep the lights on. But New England’s day of reckoning is coming. The region is becoming ever-more dependent on gas-fired power, most gas pipeline projects into New England are stalled or scrapped, and New York’s recently announced plan to close two Indian Point nuclear units will only make matters worse

This is ironic, of course, because the six New England states (and New York, their occasionally pipeline-averse neighbor) are so close to the Marcellus production area, which sends out about three times as much gas per day as New York and New England combined consume (on average). Another irony is that while the seven states (New York plus New England) have been among the most difficult places on God’s green earth to develop incremental gas pipeline capacity (the Constitution Pipeline, Northeast Energy Direct et al), they also have been particularly aggressive in 1) shutting down nuclear and coal-fired power plants and 2) adding new gas-fired plants to replace them

ISO New England (the regional electric-grid operator) already has approved plans for seven new gas-fired plants totaling more than 3,000 MW (enough to power 300,000 homes) that will begin commercial operation between May 2017 and May 2019, and within a few weeks the ISO is likely to give its blessing to at least another gas fired power plant or two that would come online by May 2020.

New England

Excerpt from ISO New England, January 2017 Presentation

All this new gas-fired capacity is needed to replace a long list of nuclear, coal-fired (and oil-fired) units, including Entergy Corp.’s 677-megawatt (MW) Pilgrim nuke south of Boston, which will close its doors two years from now. The new gas plants, whose hourly output can be dialed up and down with relative ease, also are needed to back up the region’s increasing number of variable-output wind farms and solar facilities (green and light orange shaded areas, respectively, in Figure 1), whose power production depends on the minute-by-minute whims of Mother Nature

Given New England’s self-created dilemma (an increasing dependence on gas-fired generation, coupled with an unwillingness to add enough pipeline capacity to supply the plants year-round), ISO New England and a few of the regions states are working on a patchwork of plans to keep the lights on into the 2020s—with or without Access Northeast or other pipeline additions…

None of these is a silver bullet, though, and New England’s gas-supply situation may become even more dire now that the state of New York and Entergy have agreed on a plan to retire Entergy’s two 1,000-MW-plus Indian Point nuclear plants (in Westchester County, just north of New York City) in 2020-21. The problem that poses is the plants provide around-the-clock power to the U.S.’s largest metropolitan area (feeding at least some power into New England in the process), and they will need to be replaced by something—most likely a combination of hydropower transmitted from afar (Quebec) and additional gas-fired capacity either within or near the Big Apple…

Gas-fired plants … already account for an increasing share of the state’s total generating capacity; that share will only grow when Indian Point … is taken offline over the next few years). The need for more gas plants in New York—smack in between the Marcellus and gas-starved New England—surely won’t help the supply situation on polar vortex days and nights in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts (where most of New England’s gas plants and population are located). One more irony? The lack of reliable gas supply to New England gas-fired power plants (mostly during the winter but increasingly during the summer as well) may lead the regional electric-grid operator to provide financial incentives to the owners of older, dirtier plants (coal and oil) to remain in service longer to help ensure the region doesn’t go dark when its pipelines are maxed out.

The situation is, in other words, dire and it’s all due to demagogic leadership from the likes of Prince Corruptocrat Cuomo, Princess Fauxahontas Warren and perhaps the most conceited of all US Senators, Edward Markey, whose nose is so far up in the air it aligns with his backside. It’s increasingly likely not even Tom Brady can save them this time.

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