Natural Gas Fuel Supply Risk for New England

The Independent System Operator(ISO)-New England has warned that the natural gas supply for New England is precarious this winter.  Emergency actions could be necessary if the region experiences an extended cold snap.  There are several variables contributing to the concern.

Fuel supply storage is lower than recent winters:  New England, and Connecticut in particular, is heavily dependent on natural gas for home heating and power plant electricity generation.  When those two demands for natural gas hit simultaneously, the supply can be challenging.

Price fluctuations and supply chain issues:  When pipeline natural gas is unavailable, reliance goes to oil and liquefied natural gas(LNG).  Prices on oil and LNG are up and supply chain issues make delivering to New England complicated.

Extreme weather can be difficult to predict: A cold snap is considered a sudden or brief period of time with below average temperatures but extended cold snaps have happened in New England from 4 days to two weeks.  It is very important to be aware of your local 10-day forecast.

ISO-NE typically hosts a series of meetings with generators, industry, and government officials.  During these meetings, officials typically outline supply and demand forecasts, as well as how the ISO will communicate throughout the season if challenging conditions materialize. “Throughout the winter, ISO New England prepares and publishes an energy adequacy forecast on a rolling 21-day basis aimed at identifying potential energy shortfalls. This forecast is based on a weather outlook, projected fuel supply inventories and expected deliveries, expected production from wind and behind-the-meter solar resources, and a consumer demand outlook,” said Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England

ISO-NE 21 Day Forecast Primer, January 2022