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New England Power Grid Issues ‘Abnormal Conditions’ Alert Amid Heatwave

ISO New England has issued an ‘abnormal conditions’ alert and declared a Power Caution for the region for several hours during peak demand on Tuesday evening as a heatwave is straining the power grid this week.

Weather forecasts predict that dangerous heat is heading into Boston for several days this week. The Boston area is under a Heat Advisory, or an Excessive Heat Watch, for nearly all of this week. At least three consecutive days of excessive heat are expected in Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire this week—not a very common occurrence for June. 

As a result, overall power demand and peak load demand in the evenings are expected to surge.

On Tuesday, when temperatures began to rise, ISO New England said it had issued “a precautionary alert due to tight operating conditions over the evening peak. This is not a system emergency,” it said.

Later in the day, the operator declared “a Power Caution for the region due to the unexpected loss of generation over the evening peak.”

“This declaration allows system operators to utilize reserve resources to balance the system,” ISO New England said.

Later in the evening, ISO New England lifted the Power Caution, but “an abnormal conditions alert remains in effect due to hot weather across the region.”

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) 2024 Summer Reliability Assessment found that some regions and states in the United States are at elevated risk of electricity supply shortages this summer. New England is one of these, alongside with parts of California, the Southwest, the Midwest, and Texas.

With the retirement of two natural-gas-fired generators at Mystic Generating Station in May 2024, ISO New England will have less capacity this summer, NERC said.

“Summer heat waves that extend over the entire area can limit the availability of excess supplies and increase the risk of energy emergencies in New England,” it noted in its report.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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