The Boston Business Journal reported this week that the entity responsible for maintaining reliability on the New England power grid, ISO-New England, has recommended against the recently requested closure of the 1,500 MW Brayton Point facility in southeastern Massachusetts in 2017.
According to the BBJ, the plant owner, Equipower Resources, had notified ISO-NE in October of its intentions, stating that it was no longer economical to run the plant. After three months of review, ISO-NE determined that the plant (with three coal-fired units generating 1,055 MW and a natural gas-fired unit at 435 MW) would be needed to ensure system reliability.
The BBJ noted that a planned power line addition – the Interstate Reliabilty Project – would reduce the need from Brayton to just one unit, but that this power line may not be ready in time to meet the planned June 2017 closure date.
By its own admission, ISO-NE “does not have the authority to prevent a resource from retiring.” But, as noted in its recent press release related to the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, it can “work with market participants to develop potential market enhancements, including a pay-for-performance mechanism that will create strong financial incentives for generators to assure that they have adequate fuel arrangements to be able to produce electricity when called upon by the ISO.”I remember those commercials: "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." I sometimes wonder if the best and brightest at Harvard who are now making public policy might have been the targets of those public service announcements, based on the decisions they are making. If so, the PSAs missed their targets. By a wide margin.
I'm too busy to do much with this story, but I will post the links and maybe come back to it, but it's a huge story with many story lines. The first story I can think of: while mainstream media is mesmerized by wind turbines to manage some crisis that may or may not exist, Mother Nature gives us a crisis we can experience in our lifetimes.
Here are the two links a reader sent me. First, Reuters is reporting:
PJM Interconnection, the power grid agency for the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest, called for all electric generation to be available to meet rising demand Monday night and Tuesday as frigid temperatures grip the region.
PJM issued a Maximum Emergency Generation Alert for Tuesday to warn power-plant operators that system conditions may require them to be available to meet record demand.
Second, Dallas Business Journal is reporting:
Below-freezing temperatures are straining the state's electric grid, prompting calls for conservation Monday morning. There was a threat of rotating outages.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued an emergency alert level 2 just after 7:15 a.m. Monday as power reserves dipped below 1,750 megawatts. By 8 a.m., the warning had been scaled down to a level 1 alert and the threat of rotating outages had subsided.
ERCOT also called on big power users to cut back on their power consumption during critical times to reduce load on the grid, a program called demand response.
"We have brought on all available electric generation and have deployed all demand response programs that have contracted with ERCOT to reduce electric use in emergency situations," said Dan Woodfin, director of system operations for ERCOT in a press release. "Conditions appear to be improving at this time and we do not expect to implement rotating outages this morning."So far, no mainstream media op-eds or stories calling on our elected officials to "do something."
A Note to the Granddaughters
I am back in my element. I would love to be back in academia, maybe college all over again. I'm in my T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") phase. I saw the movie for the first time ever the other night in Blu-Ray. It was incredible. I had just read the Korda biography of T. E. Lawrence and the movie was an excellent recap. Yes, there were historical errors, and a bit of artistic freedom, but then, on the other hand, who really knows all the facts? Smile.
Be that as it may, I've spent the day at the Huntington Beach library reading / perusing four additional biographies and putting the story together.
After seeing the movie, I remarked to my wife that the director failed to make his point in the Deraa episode (in which Lawrence was tortured for two (?) days and sodomized an unknown number of times). The director, David Lean, has been quoted as saying the same thing: that if he had a chance to do it over, he would have done more with Deraa. Now that I've read a bit more and have had time to think about it, I feel that the director got it exactly right the first time. Sometimes one can over-think these things, and in general, the hunches of geniuses are the best. Lean was a genius and his hunch to film Deraa the way he did was the correct way. Anything differently would have centered the movie differently. The "Lawrence of Arabia" trailer in my mind is that of an army of Arabs on camels in full charge across the desert. A movie clip of a rape scene etched in my mind would not be what I would want.