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ISO-NE: Oil for Reliability

January 18, 2022

Last Sunday a quarter of ISO-NE was powered by Oil. Generators had to come online or switch as baseload was having trouble keeping up with the cold weather. While natural gas can be the most reliable and environmentally friendly alternative for times like these, there is simply not enough available. This phenomenon has been going on for years and has yet to be addressed even though the region is 100 miles away from the largest U.S natural gas basin – The Marcellus.

As discussed in the last post here, the Merchant Marine Act only allows U.S built, operated, and crewed ships to trade directly between two U.S ports. As the U.S competes on supplying LNG for export, it does not do any of those three things. The European and Chinese dominate the transport space. This means that ISO-NE is susceptible to uncertainty not only in domestic, but natural gas markets abroad. Nowadays, LNG prices from foreign sources are at 6x the domestic average, leaving ISO-NE with little tools.