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With energy efficiency, New England is expected to meet summer demand, ISO says


May 5, 2014

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
With energy-efficiency measures, the New England region is expected to have the resources needed to meet consumer demand for electricity this summer, according to ISO New England. Under summer weather conditions of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, electricity demand is forecasted to peak at about 28,165 MW, but region-wide energy-efficiency measures procured through ISO-NE's capacity market auction are expected to reduce that to 26,660 MW, the ISO said. With an extended heat wave, those numbers would be 30,470 MW and 28,965 MW, respectively.

The ISO said its capacity market has lined up capacity supply obligations from 29,135 MW of generation this summer, plus 1,280 MW of net electricity imports and 700 MW of demand-response resources. If all the region’s generators were operating at maximum capability, the total amount of electricity produced would be approximately 30,900 MW, ISO-NE said.

"Widespread energy-efficiency efforts across New England have reduced the region’s forecasted peak demand for electricity," said Vamsi Chadalavada, executive vice president and chief operating officer of ISO New England. "Beginning June 1, the remaining units of the Salem Harbor power station in the Greater Boston area will retire, representing a reduction of 585 MW of generating capacity in the region. While ISO New England expects to have sufficient resources to meet consumer demand this summer, this retirement is the first in a series of expected large resource retirements in the coming years that will reduce the available generating capacity in New England, resulting in the need for new resources." 

Because of the region’s growing reliance on natural gas as a fuel to produce electricity, ISO New England said it has taken steps to communicate about the risks associated with uncertain natural gas supplies during peak operating conditions. Although concerns about fuel supply to natural-gas-fired generators are more significant during the winter when pipelines historically have been at- or near-full capacity, difficulties can arise during the summer months because of planned and unplanned pipeline maintenance, the ISO said.
 

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