NEW ENGLAND The power grid faced unusually cold temperatures and the outages of several power plants and transmission lines on Tuesday by commissioning additional plants and relying on oil and coal to generate about a fifth of the electricity. electricity in the region.
ISO-New England, the region’s power grid operator, said it issued an alert in the afternoon after the cold caused unexpected blackouts. Additional plants were commissioned before the evening peak demand period between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
“We expect that we will have the resources to meet consumer demand and the necessary reserves of the power system throughout the evening,” said Matt Kakley, spokesperson for ISO-New England. “Barring further unforeseen outages, we don’t plan to implement any emergency measures tonight and we are not asking the public to conserve electricity at this time.”
Natural gas is the primary fuel used to generate electricity in New England, but due to the limited capacity of pipelines entering the region, its price and availability often vary widely as temperatures drop and demand for gasoline. gas for home heating increases.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, natural gas accounted for 43 percent of the region’s electricity production, well below its normal level. Nuclear power accounted for 22%, followed by petroleum at 17%, hydropower at 9%, renewables at 7% and coal at 3%. Normally, petroleum and coal are rarely used to generate electricity for the region.
Kakley said the greater use of oil and coal on Tuesday was due to economic reasons. “The gas available is expensive, which makes coal and oil cheaper than gas units, so they are shipped first,” he said.
The contribution of renewable energies to the region’s energy needs was split between wind power (39%), waste combustion (29%), wood combustion (28%), landfill gas (3%) and l solar energy (1%).