New England Grid Operators Warn of Blackouts as Winter Months Approach

New England Grid Operators Warn of Blackouts as Winter Months Approach

October 18, 2022

As the colder months arrive in the northeast, electric grid operators are warning New England residents to prepare for possible rolling blackouts because of a lack of natural gas. The Wall Street Journal reports, “New England power producers are preparing for potential strain on the grid this winter as a surge in natural-gas demand abroad threatens to reduce supplies they need to generate electricity. New England, which relies on natural-gas imports to bridge winter supply gaps, is now competing with European countries for shipments of liquefied natural gas, following Russia’s halt of most pipeline gas to the continent. Severe cold spells in the Northeast could reduce the amount of gas available to generate electricity as more of it is burned to heat homes.”

New England has been forced to rely on imports of natural gas because of a lack of pipeline infrastructure, despite being just a few states away from abundant natural gas supplies in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. The Journal continues, “New England has been grappling with fuel-supply challenges for more than a decade because the region has limited pipeline capacity. Imports of LNG can make up more than a third of the region’s natural-gas supply during periods of peak demand, according to the Energy Information Administration.” The lack of pipelines has even resulted in the region importing Russian natural gas during severe cold snaps.

The lack of natural gas pipelines will only be further compounded if the Biden administration is able to continue its war on American natural gas. Earlier this year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) tried to push through a rule that would make building new natural gas pipelines almost impossible, and the Interior Department has leased the fewest federal acres for oil and gas development since World War II. 

Between surging energy prices and a lack of natural gas pipelines, it could be an expensive, cold, and dark winter for many Americans in New England.