While New England gets roughly half of its electric generation from natural gas, gas-electric coordination is not just a New England issue, panelists said Dec. 2 at the TransForum East conference in Washington DC.
“This past winter has shown that it is not just a New England problem,” said ISO New England Senior Regulatory Counsel Kevin Flynn.
The PJM Interconnection saw a 22% forced outage rate on Jan. 7, 2014, at the height of the polar vortex, compared to the 7% average forced outage rate for the winter, PJM’s Lead Market Strategist Gary Helm said. It was a time when generators were needed “and they were not there,” Helm said. Part of the issue is that the natural gas business day and and electric business day are different, Helm said. Much of the work being coordinated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) since then has been devoted to helping the gas and electric power industries to understand each other, Helm said.
All the regional transmission organizations (RTOs) in the Northeast have been working on gas-electric issues, said David DesLauriers of Black & Veatch.
New York City dropped coal generation in the 1970s, said Consolidated Edison director of energy markets Rich Miller. New York has also been moving away from the more polluting oil-fired power, Miller said. The State of New York has also had good luck with dual-fuel generation, Miller said. Dual fuel usually means a plant that runs mainly on gas, but has oil that is stored on-site and that can be used when gas supply becomes an issue, particularly in the winter.