IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - 20

The Cold
Truth
Managing Gas-Electric
Integration: The ISO
New England Experience

By Mark Babula and Kevin Petak

D

DURING THE WINTER OF 2013-2014, ISO NEW ENGLAND (ISO-NE),
the independent system operator (ISO) bulk electric system operator for
the six-state New England region, was confronted with periods of relatively cold weather caused by abnormal southward shifts in the northern
polar vortex. As natural gas demand for space heating peaked, so too
did the need for electric generation, which tested the ability of gas-fired
generators to access fuel supplies. This caused an increase in spot market gas purchases in New England and subsequently resulted in an overall increase in operating and production costs within the electric sector.
Electric service reliability was not threatened, however. In the case study
described in this article, ISO-NE used some "lessons learned" from previous years to successfully meet the polar vortex challenge, successfully
avoiding service outages. But the 2013-2014 winter's gas and electric
market dynamics revealed that issues remain involving operational synchronization between natural gas and electricity systems.
While robust natural gas supply development (particularly from
areas like the Marcellus and Utica shales) is continuing to spur interest
in natural gas, questions about natural gas and electricity integration
persist. As electric providers increase their use of gas-fired generation,
questions about fuel supply adequacy for natural gas-fueled resources
are becoming a mainstay of the power sector.
Our look to the future suggests that the limitations on gas supply in New England that were apparent this past winter are likely to
continue, barring significant pipeline capacity expansion, significant

20

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Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2014.2347611
Date of publication: 20 October 2014

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
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2014 - Cover3
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