IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - 12

guest editorial

Michael Henderson and Mohammad Shahidehpour

continuing to grow
natural gas usage rising in electricity generation

T

the electric power system's
mix of generation provides capacity
and generates electrical energy using
a variety of fuels, which may include
natural gas, nuclear, coal, oil, hydroelectric, and several types of renewable
resources. Fuel availability, costs, and
public policies, such as environmental initiatives and siting requirements,
affect the amounts, types, and locations of resource development. A lack
of diversity of fuel supply can create
reliability risks and economic exposure
to price spikes resulting from natural
disasters and political events. regional
solutions can mitigate these risks by providing access to a variety of fuels, such
as by ensuring dual-fueled capability for
generating units and having sufficient
transmission infrastructure that accesses
diversified fuels by wire.
the fuel diversity problem is not
new, but the electric power industry
seems to constantly rediscover it. over
the past 50 years, the United states
has witnessed the development of "too
cheap to meter" nuclear plants and the
conversion of high-emitting coal-fired
generating plants to relatively low-polluting oil-fired units. this changed as
the result of the three mile island accident and public opposition to nuclear
power. the oil embargoes in the 1970s
triggered plans for transmitting coal by
wire from the midwest to the Northeast and the development of naturalgas-fired generation. Natural-gas-fired
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2014.2347696
Date of publication: 20 October 2014

12

ieee power & energy magazine

generation is now viewed as the bridge
to the long-term promise of a power
system relying on "smart grid technologies," energy efficiency, and renewable resources.
the worldwide supply of natural gas
has grown with the increased consumption
of natural gas by residential, commercial,
industrial, and electric
power generation users. the upsurge in the
use of natural gas to
generate electricity is
the result of the addition of new efficient
combined-cycle naturalgas-fired units over the
past decade; the recent
relatively low price of
natural gas; and the
displacement of old, less efficient, and
high-emitting oil and coal units in economic dispatch. the reliance on natural
gas could be further increased by the
loss of other types of generation subject to risks, such as nuclear and hydro
units that may not be relicensed. Accompanying the greater use of natural
gas are concerns regarding the need for
sufficient natural gas pipeline capacity
and gas supply to the pipelines during
summer and winter operating periods.
And systems with large amounts of
variable resources provide particular
fuel-management challenges for backup supplies and ancillary services,
which can be especially difficult to
coordinate with natural gas systems.

the dependence on natural gas also
exposes the power system to all types
of natural and geopolitical events that
could interrupt supplies.
this issue of IEEE Power & Energy
Magazine discusses several case studies of fuel supply risks
and how these risks
to reliability and electric energy costs are
being addressed. risks
have been quantified
through studies that
identify fuel supply
limitations and the
lessons learned from
operating experience.
Greater fuel certainty
is being ach ieve d
through better coordination of electric system needs with fuel
supplies, improvements to the natural
gas and electric power system infrastructures, and new market incentives
that reward the secure operating performance of resources. the articles in this
issue include:
✔✔ a summary of operating experience, studies, and plans for
addressing New england's heavy
dependence on natural gas-fired
generation
✔✔ a review of natural gas issues
for all of south America and a
comparison of fuel-management
issues for Brazil and chile in
more detail.
✔✔ an overview of the european Union
(eU) electricity and natural gas

The fuel
diversity
problem is not
new, but the
electric power
industry seems
to constantly
rediscover it.

november/december 2014



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - Cover4
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