ISO New England Publishes Winter Weather Study Results Through 2032 & Seeks Input Regarding Further Analysis

On August 15, 2023, ISO New England (ISO-NE) presented preliminary results for an extended timeframe through Winter 2032 as the next phase in its ongoing exploration of potential resource adequacy impacts during extreme winter weather that may occur as a result of expected retirements of existing, mostly fossil fuel, generators and the potential retirement of the Everett Marine Terminal, a liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) facility serving New England.  These results build on preliminary results published earlier this spring addressing such risks through Winter 2027 and make similar but not identical conclusions.

Key takeaways of the preliminary 2032 winter weather studies include:

  • The resource adequacy profile in New England is dynamic and will vary based on how supply and demand profiles evolve over time.
  • In terms of both magnitude and probability, studies of potential 2032 extreme winter events indicate an energy shortfall risk profile similar to that of earlier studies that examined similar risks through Winter 2027.
  • However, studies did identify through sensitivity analyses that worst-case scenarios suggest increasing energy shortfall risks between 2027 and 2032.
  • The study assumed retiring facilities would be replaced on a one-to-one nameplate megawatt ratio basis with resources matching the resource mix reflected by ISO-NE’s current interconnection queue, which is approximately 50% offshore wind, 10% utility-scale solar, and 40% battery storage capacity; one assumes this means that if more megawatts of capacity are added than retired, that could also mitigate resource adequacy risks.
  • Scenario modeling revealed that, although continued operation of the Everett Marine Terminal would allow an additional 0.4 Bcf/day of max LNG injections to pipelines through 2032, LNG inventories in New England likely would remain similar, whether or not the Everett Marine Terminal remains in operation.
  • The extended-through-2032 study preliminarily concludes that behind-the-meter and utility-scale solar, offshore wind, and incremental inputs from the planned New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project will all play important roles in mitigating energy shortfall risks due to retirements and projected winter load growth due to electrification and other factors.
  • ISO-NE plans to continue to use a resource adequacy study framework to monitor the New England electricity system as it continues to evolve.

In addition to publishing results looking forward an additional five years to 2032, ISO-NE announced it is seeking stakeholder input by September 1, 2023, regarding what additional sensitivity analyses should be done on the topic, including what key variables should be considered, with plans to conduct additional sensitivity analyses for review by stakeholders in November.

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