|Early January Nor'Easter|
About two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post The Northeast Grid and the Oil. This described our early-January polar weather, and how Northeastern power plants could not get enough natural gas in the below-zero weather. Homes had priority for natural gas delivery, and plants that could use oil switched from natural gas to oil.
As a matter of fact, the oil stocks were also getting depleted.
I want to update the cold-snap story with some other posts. The general public doesn't read my blog, so I did some outreach. I wrote an op-ed about the grid for my local paper, the Valley News. The op-ed was printed on the front page of the Sunday Perspective section on January 28, and has been shared around 200 times on Facebook. Oil Kept the Power Grid Running in Recent Cold Snap.
Why were people so interested in the article? Because a secure electric supply is an important part of personal safety during extremely cold weather. Most home furnaces require electricity to spread the warmth into the household. People who have chosen heat pumps are also dependent on reliable electricity.
Nuclear plants and pipelines and controversy, oh my!
There were more articles on the situation, of course, not just mine. Actually, I think there were too few articles. Nearly running out of oil when you can't get gas---this can be a major deal during severe winter weather! I will point out some interesting articles, and I hope that people who read this will send links to a few more.
Rod Adams post described the "sobering statements" made by the grid operator about oil supply, and the weird statements made by nuclear opponents. (Pilgrim should have shut down before the storm? Really?) He shares some graphics from ISO-NE on the weak performance of solar panels during the days of the crisis. He also discusses Pilgrim going off-line, and whether that could have been prevented. As usual, his post has an active and informed stream of comments. Performance of the New England power grid during extreme cold Dec 25-Jan 8, at Atomic Insights blog.
Meanwhile, over at Forbes, several columnists were commenting on the situation.
Jude Clemente wrote What Happens When You Don't Build Natural Gas Pipeline
David Blackman wrote Amid Deep Freeze, New Englanders Can 'Thank' N.Y. Gov Cuomo For Their High Energy Bills
Christopher Helman wrote Natural Gas Demand Hits Record As Cold Bomb Targets Northeast
Over WBUR radio, Bruce Gellerman has a fascinating seven minute segment on how the power plants actually operated during the cold snap, including an interview with a manager of a peaker plant that runs about 800 hours a year. Do We Need More Natural Gas Pipelines?
There's a lot of controversy built into all these articles. The role of nuclear. The need (or not-need) for more natural gas pipelines. Will new emissions regulations make handling the next cold snap much harder? Did renewables make a great contribution during the cold snap? Or not?
The Electric Supply
A steady electric supply is hugely important to winter safety. In my opinion, it should not be such a subject of controversy. My hope is that reason will prevail, and we will have the nuclear plants, pipelines and energy security that we need.