Storm Gail, the northeast United States’ biggest winter storm in a decade, has focused minds on the insufficient energy infrastructure in the country, particularly limited gas pipeline capacity to supply all the fuel needed for both heat and power generation during the coldest of days. As a result, many gas-fired plants have to switch to more expensive oil when temperatures drop.
The group responsible for reliability of the North American power grid warned last month that extreme weather could put New England fuel supplies at risk.
ISO New England, the regional electric grid operator, said thus far power generators in the region were still getting all the gas they needed and that the system was operating normally.
The company said New England’s power plant fuel mix was 55% gas, 25% nuclear, 10% renewables (mostly wind and wood), 7% hydro, 2% coal and less than 1% oil on Wednesday morning.
Four years ago, Kinder Morgan shelved a $3 billion $301- km gas pipeline project through New England when environmentalists opposed to the construction objected, forcing the company to give in and look elsewhere for investment.