Endangering American Lives

Endangering American Lives

ISO-NE has analyzed the potential for blackouts in New England and has requested a waiver from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to keep a natural gas plant online due to fuel security risks.

This quote is the preamble to the ISO-NE petition:


“ISO New England Inc. (“the ISO”) submits this petition pursuant to the Commission’s Rule 2071 for waiver of certain provisions of the ISO’s Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff (“Tariff”)2 in order to ensure reliable electric service for New England consumers during the ISO’s 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 Capacity Commitment Periods,3 the 24 months from June 1, 2022, through May 31, 2024.”

The professionals at ISO-NE are responsible for keeping Americans safe by providing reliable electricity, and this petition reflects their concern about the potential for blackouts.

But environmentalists think they know more than the professionals, and have had an alternative study done by Synapse Energy Economics, to refute what the professionals at ISO-NE have reported.

The ISO-NE study predicts rolling blackouts in 19 of 23 scenarios, while the Synapse report predicts there is only one scenario where blackouts were probable. (As if one is acceptable.)

Reportedly, David Ismay, senior staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation, one of the groups behind the alternative study, claims the Synapse study proves ISO-NE has exaggerated the potential for blackouts.

It should be noted that the members of the Northeast Power Pool (NEPOOL), who questioned the ISO-NE report, and the Conservation Law Foundation who claim their study is more accurate, are not responsible for keeping the lights on.

They can make any claim they want, and if they are wrong, they can walk away and shift the blame.

This came to the fore with ISO-NE’s requested waiver in order to keep two units of the Mystic natural gas power plant, near Boston, online beyond 2022.

This power plant is the primary customer of the Everett Marine LNG Terminal, which can also supply 435 million cubic feet of gas per day to New England pipelines. 

ISO-NE claims that if the LNG plant closes due to the loss of business from the Mystic natural gas plants, it will reduce the amount of natural gas available to maintain required fuel security in New England.

The ISO-NE request based on fuel security is the first of its kind, and has reopened the fuel security debate. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) January request for using fuel security to keep nuclear and coal-fired power plants open was rejected by FERC several weeks ago.

Fuel security does increase the complexity for FERC since there could be many instances where multiple fuel security issues could become an issue.

Environmentalists who support anthropogenic global warming (AGW) worry that approval by FERC of the ISO-NE request could open the door for keeping large power plants open. These are the plants being forced to close by the rigged auction system that relies on marginal costs and ignores full costs. See It’s Time to End the Auction Fiasco.

For example, a director at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Liz Delaney, said. “Who is to say that nuclear or oil units won’t soon make the same argument?”

She also said, “Exelon [A large owner of nuclear power plants] could be the first of many who use this open invitation to obtain a cost-of-service agreement for fuel security.”

The EDF seems to be intent on closing nuclear power plants.

We now have proof that environmental activists are willing to risk the lives of Americans so that they can cut CO2 and green house gas emissions.

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2 Replies to “Endangering American Lives”

  1. This is a little worse than I expected from NEPOOL, but frankly, I didn’t expect much good. The precedents are not hopeful.

    Years ago, when ISO-NE filed their request for Pay for Performance, to insure that power plants would be paid for being available in lousy weather, not just paid for SAYING they would be available, NEPOOL filed a simultaneous “jump ball” filing with FERC. In the NEPOOL filing, unlike the ISO filing, NEPOOL asked FERC to (among other things) to not pay plants such as nuclear, coal and hydro which are available in bad weather because..well, they ARE always available. No purpose paying them specially! ISO was fuel neutral, NEPOOL was not.

    Fuel neutrality is great—when it suits NEPOOL. To see what I am writing about, look at page 9, point 18 in this FERC ruling about Pay for Performance. It describes the NEPOOL proposal. https://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20150911153543-ER15-2208-000.pdf

    Unfortunately, FERC ruled mostly for the NEPOOL version. I think. These filings are not meant to be read by laymen, IMO.

    I think I could write a book, just about this particular FERC ruling. As you probably know, I am drafting a book about the grid right now. The difficulty will be making it a short book, not a weighty tome. There are weighty tomes, $400 text books out there, but your average citizen is not going to read them. So “stuff happens” on the grid, and we have no idea what caused it. A little transparency would be nice…

    • Thanks for your comments and additional information.
      I’m looking forward to your book. My articles are merely snippets of what happens on the grid, and your book will allow people to understand how it works and what’s happening behind the scenes.