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New England’s demand for energy is going to outpace supply within the next few years and that is sparking warnings of serious scenarios in which Rhode Island and the rest of New England can expect blackouts — not just in summer, but the dead of winter.

ISO New England (ISO) is warning that due to a number of large electricity producing plants coming offline over the next few years and the near inability to site energy producing resources in New England, that the issue will become critical.

“We have a major siting problem, older nuclear plants are coming offline and not being replaced. There are few gas-powered plants being proposed and the region is getting more and more dependent on shipping LNG down from Canada,” said Angwin in a phone interview from her home in Vermont, one of the first women to be a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The retirements of coal-fired, oil-fired, and nuclear generators—resources with fuel stored on site—“will have a significant impact on reliability and magnify the importance of other variables, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies,” reports the ISO. While renewable coming online will help to enhance fuel security for the region, the New England states continue to be ever more dependent on Liquid Natural Gas.

Presently in Rhode Island, some communities are now trying to block large-scale renewable projects that would decrease the dependency on LNG shipping. Grow Smart’s Scott Wolfe and Scott Millar argue in an opinion piece in EcoRI, “Our conservative estimate suggests there are more than 1,000 acres of land where utility-scale solar development has already been developed or proposed. Moreover, a request by the state for proposals for an additional 400 megawatts of renewable energy is scheduled to be issued this summer. If only half of that is ground-based solar, and our existing state renewable-energy subsidies aren’t changed, an additional 1,000 acres of forested land could be clear-cut.”

The ISO concludes its 56-page report with significant warnings for the region, "The study results indicate the risk of future energy shortfalls is greater than the risk today. All but one of the 23 scenarios show that the regional power system could frequently experience some degree of system stress, requiring system operators to employ emergency procedures. All but four scenarios show that some level of load shedding would be needed to maintain system balance. This indicates that the region is currently maintaining a delicate balance that could easily be disrupted…"

New England’s demand for energy is going to outpace supply within the next few years and that is sparking warnings of serious scenarios in which Rhode Island and the rest of New England can expect blackouts — not just in summer, but the dead of winter.

ISO New England (ISO) is warning that due to a number of large electricity producing plants coming offline over the next few years and the near inability to site energy producing resources in New England, that the issue will become critical.

“We have a major siting problem, older nuclear plants are coming offline and not being replaced. There are few gas-powered plants being proposed and the region is getting more and more dependent on shipping LNG down from Canada,” said Angwin in a phone interview from her home in Vermont, one of the first women to be a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The retirements of coal-fired, oil-fired, and nuclear generators—resources with fuel stored on site—“will have a significant impact on reliability and magnify the importance of other variables, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies,” reports the ISO. While renewable coming online will help to enhance fuel security for the region, the New England states continue to be ever more dependent on Liquid Natural Gas.

Presently in Rhode Island, some communities are now trying to block large-scale renewable projects that would decrease the dependency on LNG shipping. Grow Smart’s Scott Wolfe and Scott Millar argue in an opinion piece in EcoRI, “Our conservative estimate suggests there are more than 1,000 acres of land where utility-scale solar development has already been developed or proposed. Moreover, a request by the state for proposals for an additional 400 megawatts of renewable energy is scheduled to be issued this summer. If only half of that is ground-based solar, and our existing state renewable-energy subsidies aren’t changed, an additional 1,000 acres of forested land could be clear-cut.”

The ISO concludes its 56-page report with significant warnings for the region, "The study results indicate the risk of future energy shortfalls is greater than the risk today. All but one of the 23 scenarios show that the regional power system could frequently experience some degree of system stress, requiring system operators to employ emergency procedures. All but four scenarios show that some level of load shedding would be needed to maintain system balance. This indicates that the region is currently maintaining a delicate balance that could easily be disrupted…"