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New England likely to import power in July: NPCC

19 May 2017 17:31 (+01:00 GMT)
New England likely to import power in July: NPCC

Houston, 19 May (Argus) — New England may need to rely on power imports from nearby regions in order to maintain reliability this summer, according to the Northeast Power Coordinating Council.

The council tracks power reliability and coordination in part of the US Northeast and eastern Canada. The council's report showed that overall summer load should be lower than last year's forecast, and that the full region should have adequate summer electricity supplies.

But New England may need to take steps to maintain reliability, particularly during its peak forecast in mid-July, the council said.

The region should have total installed capacity of 29,412MW during the summer 2017 peak week's demand forecast of 26,482MW. Although the installed capacity number is technically higher than the peak demand forecast, when the council accounts for purchases, sales, required operating reserves, and planned and unplanned power outages, New England's operable capacity margin is calculated at negative 521MW for that week.

New England has added 360MW of new generating capacity since last summer, but it has also retired the 1,464MW Brayton Point coal-fired plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, resulting in a net change for New England generation of negative 835MW on the year.

Natural gas has become the predominant fuel source in New England. ISO-New England expects only limited amounts of pipeline maintenance and construction to occur this summer and does not forecast deliverability issues that would affect installed capacity.

New York state should have an adequate supply of electricity for the summer. That state's lowest capacity margin is forecast at positive 924MW during the season. New York has retired nearly 425MW of generation since summer 2016, including two units at the Cayuga coal-fired plant in Vermillion county. But the state has added nearly 287MW of generation.

Meanwhile, the Canadian states should have more than sufficient supplies for the cooling season. Ontario should have a margin of positive 2,634MW, while Quebec's margin is forecast at positive 6,500MW to 11,400MW.

The council's coverage area consists of New England, New York, Ontario, Quebec, and the Canadian Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.