Last week was the one we’ve all been waiting for. Finally, some warm weather! Sitting outside enjoying the sun, listening to the Red Sox on the radio, or doing a little early gardening, the last thing any of us want to think about is next winter. But planning for next winter was the main topic of discussion as the nation’s top energy official came to the region last Monday.
As the runners were crossing the finish line in Boston, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, was “delivering a blunt message” to New England’s energy industry, regulators and environmentalists. While other parts of the country are entering a new era of energy growth and reducing carbon emissions, he said, the New England states are talking about a lack of resources and rising prices.
The head of New England’s energy grid, ISO New England President and CEO Gordon Van Welie, also had sobering news to report about last winter’s power supply problems and the regional energy outlook for the winter of 2014/2015. After reviewing the data from last winter, van Welie said the natural gas supply problem was even worse than the grid operators had thought. These supply problems will continue next winter causing prices to escalate again unless something is done to fix it, he added. Across the country, reliance on natural gas is growing; while here in New England, other types of power plants are retiring.
Fuel constraints and higher costs aren’t just a problem for the more populated states to our south. New Hampshire saw rising energy costs last winter, too, and if Moniz and van Welie’s predictions hold true, New Hampshire will likely see them again.
Our state and the rest of New England have committed to support new clean energy projects, yet want to also find ways to lower customer costs. Studies show that hydropower is one of the cleanest and most affordable forms of energy, making it one of the best options for meeting the region’s energy goals.
(The links below are included in the above communication)
Energy chief bemoans region’s infrastructure
R.I. leaders ask Energy Secretary Moniz for help lowering natural-gas prices
ISO New England President & CEO Gordon van Welie’s statement on New England energy outlook
U.S. DOE Quadrennial Energy Review meeting
Natural gas leads 2013 capacity additions by wide margin
PSNH president talks Northern Pass, alternative energy
Hydropower: Climate Tech Book
Pew Center on Global Climate Change