- ISO New England said Monday the region should have adequate electricity supplies this winter “under mild and moderate weather conditions.” Prolonged periods of very cold weather could affect reliability, but ISO-NE will use procedures and plans, including its rolling three-week energy supply forecast, to reduce risks, the grid operator said.
- ISO-NE anticipates demand for electricity will peak at 20,009 MW during average winter weather conditions of 10°F and 20,695 MW if temperatures reach below-average conditions of 5°F. The projections are about 2% higher than forecasts last year. New England’s all-time winter peak record was set in January 2004 when electricity use reached 22,818 MW.
- ISO-NE said it does not anticipate calling for controlled power outages this winter, and would “resort to this drastic step only to prevent a collapse of the power system that would take days or weeks to repair.”
“Based on seasonal weather forecasts and information provided by generators about their fuel arrangements, the region’s power system is prepared for mild and moderate weather conditions,” said President and CEO Gordon van Welie. “If long periods of severely cold weather develop, we’ll lean on our forecasting tools to identify potential problems early enough to take proactive measures, such as calling for increased fuel deliveries or asking for public conservation.”
The ISO cited a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of above-average temperatures in New England this winter. A warmer-than-average season does not eliminate the threat of prolonged stretches of cold weather, the grid operator said.
“Climate change is making weather more volatile and harder to predict, while stimulating more severe weather,” it said.
ISO-NE said it could import emergency power from neighboring regions, call on power system reserves and ask businesses and residents to voluntarily conserve energy. It said it anticipates generators using stored fuels, such as oil and LNG, would operate around the clock during prolonged periods of extremely cold weather.
“Conservation requests during these periods would be made to extend these fuel supplies until either the weather warms or additional deliveries make it to the region,” it said. “Rather than moving consumer demand into different parts of the day, the public may be asked to limit their energy use during all hours, perhaps for several days.”
Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, said in an interview that generators agree with ISO-NE that reliability will not be a problem this winter, but generators are watching for “extreme situations.”
Because of electrification putting more demands on the grid and global trade roiled by Russia’s war on Ukraine, “it’s one of the most uncertain fuel markets I have ever seen,” he said.
“There's no question this is a tight market,” Dolan said.
ISO-NE struck a less dire tone than it did in December 2021 when it said it can keep the lights on “if the weather is mild.”
The New York Independent System Operator reported last week it expects electricity supplies to be sufficient to meet peak demand this winter and that wholesale prices and consumer costs will spike this winter due to lingering impacts of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.