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New England power producers are preparing for potential strain on the grid this winter as a surge in natural-gas demand abroad threatens to reduce supplies they need to generate electricity. *** The region’s power-grid operator, ISO New England Inc., has warned that an extremely cold winter could strain the reliability of the grid and potentially result in the need for rolling blackouts to keep electricity supply and demand in balance. The warning comes as executives and analysts predict power producers could have to pay as much as several times more than last year for gas deliveries if severe weather creates urgent need for spot-market purchases.
What’s the problem that is generating astronomical prices and may lead to blackouts?
New England, which relies on natural-gas imports to bridge winter supply gaps, is now competing with European countries for shipments of liquefied natural gas, following Russia’s halt of most pipeline gas to the continent. Severe cold spells in the Northeast could reduce the amount of gas available to generate electricity as more of it is burned to heat homes.
That’s weird. New England is just a few hundred miles from the Marcellus Shale, one of the world’s biggest sources of natural gas. So why should New Englanders be shivering in the dark?
New England has been grappling with fuel-supply challenges for more than a decade because the region has limited pipeline capacity. … The Jones Act, a law restricting the movement of ships between U.S. ports, makes maritime delivery of domestic supplies nearly impossible, so the region relies on gas produced abroad.
But wait! Why does New England have “limited pipeline capacity”? Because anti-American “environmentalists” in New York have blocked construction of pipelines that would bring domestic natural gas to the region:
The main problem is that New England can’t get enough natural gas from the rest of the country. …[R]esistance to natural gas infrastructure, specifically pipelines in New York, has left New England relying on oil for electricity and heat when the gas can’t flow fast enough.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016 used administrative maneuvering to block the proposed Constitution Pipeline, which would have brought gas from Pennsylvania into existing pipelines that supply New England. Several other gas projects were subsequently nixed or withdrawn because of obstacles created by New York state agencies.
So Andy Cuomo’s sins go far beyond sexual harassment and killing elderly residents of nursing homes.
I don’t know whether there will be widespread blackouts this winter or not. (The Midcontinent Independent System Operator has also warned about potential blackouts in the Midwest.) It doesn’t really matter. If there are not widespread blackouts this year, there will be next year, depending on the vicissitudes of weather. Or, if not next year, the year after. As long as our country continues on the destructive path of replacing reliable energy with inefficient, intermittent “green” energy, blackouts and other system failures are inevitable. Only a major policy change, a rejection of “green” energy, can stave off that fate.