US New England oil-fired generation averaging 16.2 GWh/day in 2014: ISO NE

Houston (Platts)--26 Mar 2014 159 pm EDT/1759 GMT

Oil-fired power plants in New England have accounted for about 5.3% of total generation in the region so far this year, more than eight times the level during the same period of 2013, according to data grid operator ISO New England published Wednesday.

The ISO, which handles electric markets for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, showed generation from oil-fired units averaged 16.201 GWh/day through March 24, compared with about 1.991 GWh/d, or 0.6% of total generation, during the comparable period last year.

ISO New England's oil-fired generation has been high this winter because of repeated cold snaps and a grid operator-initiated winter reliability program that provided a number of incentives to use oil to generate electricity.

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This has led to greater demand for petroleum products such as fuel oil for generating units that can use both oil and natural gas, which has seen sharp price increases this winter.

New England and New York City spot natural gas prices have averaged $19.81/MMBtu this year compared with $18.25/MMBtu for New York Harbor fuel oils that can be used in power generation, according to Platts assessments.

The ISO also has leaned more heavily on petroleum products this winter because of gas pipeline curtailments that were called when demand for gas soared.

The ISO's data for oil-fired generation considers only power plants that burn exclusively petroleum products. Dual-fuel units that can burn either natural gas or oil products are included in the natural gas category, even if a facility might have burned oil on a particular day.

The other two main grid operators in the US Northeast -- PJM Interconnection and the New York Independent System Operator -- do not release up-to-date breakdowns of their generation mixes.

--John-Laurent Tronche,
--Edited by Derek Sands,

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