Eversource CEO Joe Nolan urged President Joe Biden to use his emergency powers to “swiftly address” concerns that New England will not have enough fuel to power the region if there is a “severe cold spell” this winter.
With an electric grid that is heavily reliant on natural gas to fuel power plants, and limited pipelines to bring gas into the region, whether there will be enough fuel to fire the power plants is an annual concern in New England. The region typically relies on imports of liquefied natural gas to supplement gas carried in on pipelines.
But because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Nolan said there isn’t enough gas available to import this winter without “causing further stress on European markets and the American economy.”
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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that while New England has enough resources to meet electricity demand under most winter weather conditions, a sustained cold snap could be problematic and could interrupt the supply of electricity this winter.
“This represents a serious public health and safety threat,” Nolan said. “Consumers in New England are already experiencing skyrocketing electricity and gas costs given supply constraints and global price pressures following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Nolan urged Biden to issue an emergency order that would allow Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to temporarily direct electricity production. Nolan wrote that Biden could also temporarily waive the Jones Act, which would make it easier to shift liquefied natural gas between U.S. ports.
The Eversource CEO also urged Biden to have Granholm to convene a meeting of “all relevant parties” to come up with a plan for New England to meet its energy needs in the case of severe winter or extreme winter weather events.
“The need for action now is compelling,” Nolan said. “Many of the solutions require advance planning because they may require actions by regulators, finding new resources, chartering vessels, arranging for additional fuel deliveries, and other yet to be identified extraordinary actions.”
Nolan’s letter, written last Thursday, comes just before an election where candidates for U.S. Congress from Connecticut are split along party lines on how to address the high cost of energy expected this winter: with Republicans placing the blame on Biden, and Democrats on Russian President Vladimir Putin.