ISO New England, the region’s independent electric-grid operator, released its Operational Fuel-Security Analysis report recently, and it sees fuel security risks heading our way during the winter months. The choke points, which ISO expects could lead to blackouts and calls for conservation, seem most likely to hit by 2024-2025 and revolve around the possibility of losing any one of several key facilities, particularly a natural-gas pipeline compressor station. The issue comes to the fore as the growing availability of low-cost domestic natural gas causes the retirement of coal- and oil-fired power plants in the area. Cold weather increases demand on natural gas for heating as well as electricity generation. The question is, should the region invest in expanding natural gas pipelines in order to ensure consistent access to gas for both heating and electricity generation?
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