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ISO New England Outlines Power Grid Preparedness for Winter 2024

Jan. 5, 2024
Winter electricity demand is estimated to peak at 20,269 MW during average conditions and 21,032 MW under colder than normal temperatures.

According to ISO New England, the region should have sufficient resources to meet the peak demand for electricity in winter 2024.

The operator uses a continuing three-week energy supply forecast, which includes a variety of factors to provide an early warning to the region, if energy supplies are constrained. 

“Seeing what’s coming is crucial to navigating any potential power system challenges, and our 21-day energy supply forecast is an operational tool that serves this very purpose,” said Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England. “It gives us situational awareness on energy adequacy over the operating horizon, allowing us to identify potential energy shortfalls while there's still time to prevent them or lessen their impact.”

The ISO expects calling for controlled power outages only to prevent a collapse of the power system, which takes days or weeks to repair. It will coordinate the action with local utilities, which will take the necessary actions to lower electricity demand in their areas.

Winter electricity demand is estimated to peak at 20,269 MW during average conditions and 21,032 MW under colder than normal temperatures, an increase of 1.3% as compared to 2023 forecasts. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is anticipating above-normal temperatures in New England in winter 2024, with near-normal precipitation for central and northern New England. 

While an El Nino weather pattern expects warmer temperatures overall in winter 2024, it does not exclude the chance of multiple stretches of cold outbreaks, which will stress the region’s power system.

ISO New England’s energy supply outlook aims to provide an early warning of potential energy shortfalls affecting reliable operation of the regional power grid, if stored fuels such as liquefied natural gas run low, especially during periods when the natural gas pipeline system may be constrained. 

The forecast allows resource owners to take stock of their resource fuel supplies, reschedule maintenance, or arrange for additional fuel deliveries when possible.

ISO New England’s system operators import additional power from neighboring regions, use power system reserves, and ask businesses and residents to voluntarily conserve electricity in case of emergencies. Power outages are considered only if conservation efforts fail to balance electricity supply and demand. 

ISO New England anticipates generators to use stored fuels like oil and LNG for operations during prolonged periods of extreme cold. During these periods, conservation requests will aim to extend the fuel supplies until warmer weather or additional deliveries of fuel have arrived.

Winter 2024 will witness an Inventoried Energy Program, a two-year program designed to provide incremental compensation to certain resources maintaining inventoried energy during cold periods, when energy security is most stressed. 


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