New England Is An Energy Crisis Waiting To Happen

In her excellent book Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid, Meredith Angwin describes how a combination of bad policy, complicated governance, and dense bureaucracy has made the entire electric grid of New England incredibly vulnerable to collapse, especially during winter cold snaps (you can buy Angwin’s book here and follow her Twitter account here). She tells the story of how Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) like ISO New England have evolved to oversee bulk electric power systems and transmission lines, and how producers of electricity must subordinate their natural gas consumption for use in home heating during extreme cold weather events. Of course, the demand for electricity skyrockets during these same extreme events as people supplement their home heating needs with electric space heaters, further exacerbating the problem.

Angwin goes on the tell the story of how New England’s electric grid nearly collapsed during cold snaps in late December 2017 and early January 2018. In the book, she quotes from an op-ed she wrote for the Valley News shortly after the incident (emphasis added throughout this piece):

Around 5:00 P.M. on January 6, 2018, I snapped a light on as the sun went down. The temperature was around minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit. It had been zero at lunchtime and would be minus 15 the next morning. As usual, the light went on. As grid operator ISO New England had planned, oil had saved the grid. During that very cold week, about one-third of New England’s electricity came from burning oil. The people at ISO-NE might think it is unfair to say that they planned to save the grid with oil, but they did, because of the Winter Reliability Program.

She goes on to describe that while burning oil had averted disaster, it had only barely done so. The grid was hours away from rolling blackouts before the weather thankfully turned warmer. The book then covers the broken interplay between policy, markets, and fuel security, how renewables impact the grid, and her thoughts on a more rational path forward. It is well worth a full read.

You would think that the near collapse of their energy grid would have motivated the good people of New England to get serious about shoring up their energy needs ahead of future cold snaps. You would be wrong. Instead, they have set about the task of systematically dismantling existing critical infrastructure and blocking the development of proven technologies. In 2019, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station was shuttered, leaving New England with only two nuclear power facilities. There are no plans to build more.

More urgently, virtually every attempt to expand the region’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure has been delayed, blocked, or abandoned. Here’s a sobering report from InsideSources from mid-2019 that describes the situation:

As activists become more adept at enlisting government in their war on oil and gas pipelines, even small projects are becoming difficult to build.

Last month, voters in Longmeadow, Mass., approved a non-binding ballot measure encouraging the town to buy land to block a local natural gas metering and transfer station.

This past Earth Day, the mayor of Holyoke, Mass., announced............................

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Comment by Willem Post on January 8, 2022 at 7:40am


THIS SIMILAR TO DEFORESTATION OF THE 1800s, but nothing grows back for at least 25 years!!!

Comment by Willem Post on January 4, 2022 at 12:09pm

The EU is facing an energy crisis, because:


- EU RE bureaucrats urged countries not to sign long-term contract for gas from Russia
- The US, EU and NATO are on auto-pilot to contain and pressure Russia.

- There was minimal wind, minimal solar, and some nuclear plants had unscheduled outages

- The EU sucked gas from storage during summer, that would be needed in winter

- Germany and Belgium will close down more nuclear plants in 2022, for “green” reasons.


- Russia provides gas, as required by signed long-term contracts, plus about 5%
- The 5% is sold by Gazprom on the spot market at very high prices.

- Germany and France received all the 2021-contracted Russian gas by mid-December

- Germany is pumping some of that gas, via Poland, to “hate-Russia” Ukraine, which buys it at high cost, because it refuses to directly buy gas from Russia at low cost.

- Owners are diverting LNG carriers to the EU to cash in on the high-SPOT-price bonanza.
- See US spot price, $/million Btu


The spread between the United States and Europe for cargoes leaving the Gulf Coast crept above $37/MMBtu this week, while the arbitrage to Asia sits at around $30, according to NGI calculations.


With Henry Hub trading around $4/million Btu, a large cargo produced in the US is valued at about $16 million.

However, at current TTF prices, its value in Europe stands at roughly $168 million – a staggering arbitrage of $152 million, according to shipowner Flex LNG. 


“If you are able to source cargoes in the US, on a Henry Hub-linked index, it’s like having an ATM,” Flex CEO Oystein Kalleklev told NGI on Wednesday. 


Here is an article providing additional information



Comment by Willem Post on December 31, 2021 at 5:16am



Any transition from fossil fuels to low-CO2 sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass, could occur only when the low-CO2 sources are: 1) abundantly available everywhere, and 2) at low-cost, say 5 to 6 c/kWh, wholesale, and 3) as reliable as fossil fuels, 24/7/365, year after year. 


This article presents the all-in cost of wind, solar and battery systems in the US Northeast.

Table 1 shows the all-in cost of wind and solar are much greater than reported by the Media, etc.


Much of the cost is shifted from Owners of these systems to taxpayers and ratepayers, and added to government debts 




Simplified Mortgage Method


This method can be applied to Electric Vehicles, Heat Pumps, Electric Buses, Wind Systems, Solar Systems, Battery Systems, etc.


The minimum annual carrying cost of a house, or an energy system, is “paying the mortgage”.

With regard to a house, all other costs, such as real estate taxes, heating, cooling, maintenance, etc., are in addition.


An energy system must have annual revenues = “Paying the mortgage” + “All other costs”

Any shortage of revenues must be made up by subsidies.


The less an energy system is able to “pay for itself”, the more the subsidies.

Subsidies can be reductions in the upfront turnkey capital costs

Subsidies can be reductions of some items of “All other costs”

Subsidies can be paying for the electricity production in excess of market prices


A house, after paying the mortgage, likely is worth more than in Year 1.

However, wind, solar, and battery systems have useful service lives of about 20, 25, and 15 years, respectively.

Thereafter, they still perform at lesser outputs for some time, but their financial value is near zero.


Complicated Spreadsheet Method


A more exact analysis of the economics of an energy system would involve a spreadsheet with many rows and at least 25 columns (for solar), one for each year. It would involve Present Values, Internal Rates of Return, Levelized Costs of Energy, etc.


GMP, VT-DPS, VT-PUC, etc., have such spreadsheets, as do I. They would be much too complicated to present here.




Cost Shifting from Owners to Ratepayers and Taxpayers


Comment by Willem Post on December 31, 2021 at 5:15am





Europe is seeing major increases in the SPOT prices of gas/1000 m3, coal/metric ton, and oil/barrel.

This will have an adverse effect on prices at the pump, etc.


The EU SPOT price surge was entirely the fault of EU bureaucrats in Brussels, which have urged EU countries NOT to sign long-term gas supply contracts with Russia, because it would send a “the wrong signal regarding the seriousness of EU fighting climate change”.


Serbia, Hungary and Turkey had recently signed long-term contracts with Russia at about $3/million Btu.

Those countries were vilified by EU bureaucrats and the handmaiden EU Media.


Subsequently, SPOT prices of gas started to increase, and the three countries are smiling.

EU SPOT prices of gas briefly increased to about $60/million Btu

US SPOT prices increased to about $4/million Btu, 15 times less than Europe, due to an abundance of domestic gas. See table.


Gazprom expects to export between 175 and 183 bcm of gas to Europe, in 2021, at prices of about $200/1000 m3; long-term contracts.


A below-ground gas storage reservoir has to a total gas volume and a working gas volume, WGV; as gas is withdrawn, the gas pressure decreases.


European gas storage was at 95.65% of WGV, on October 1, 2020, and at 74.14% on October 1, 2021, i.e., significantly below normal in 2021.


If Europe were to have a long and cold winter, economies would stagnate, prices would increase, and people would be suffering.

EU solar electricity would be minimal in winter.

EU wind electricity would not be something to rely on.



In Europe, gas prices are stated as Euro/1000 m3

1 Euro = $1.16

1000 m3 contains 1000 x 35.315 ft3/m3 x 1000 Btu/ft3 = 35,315,000 Btu





$/million Btu



























Comment by Willem Post on December 31, 2021 at 5:13am



New England experienced an unusual cold spell from December 24, 2017 – January 8, 2018

The image was created by the New England electric system operator, ISO-NE.




Fuel Shifts


Fuel oil consumption increased, almost instantaneously, from a normal annual average of about 0.3%, to an abnormal average of about 27%, of NE-generated electricity fed into the NE grid, during the cold period

Coal consumption increased from 2% to 6%, during the cold period

Gas consumption decreased from 46% to 24%, during the cold period, because gas was shifted to building space heating systems.


The next set of images were created by Warren Van Wijck, Ferrisburgh, Vermont


Link to Interactive page

The electricity sources, on the left side, can be clicked to display how the fuels stack up. 
Interactive display of Fuel Usage and Demand during Arctic Freeze


Conditions on January 7, 2018


Oil generation increasing from a normal of about 1,000 MWh/d (thin grey line) to a maximum of 129,912

MWh, equivalent to about 100* 129,912/430,000 = 30.1% of the system load!!


Wind and solar made minor contributions to the 430,000 MWh grid load.


Wind production was 13,591 MWh from 1,300 MW of wind turbines connected to the NE grid, at a capacity factor of 13,591 MWh/(1,300 MW x 24 h) = 0.436, i.e., a high capacity factor means favorable onshore winds.  See URL


Solar production was a minuscule 1,235 MWh


Misplaced Priorities of Government Bureaucrats


The fuel shift 1) caused at least several million ton of additional CO2 emissions, 2) would have been at least 50% less, if almost all buildings had been zero-net-energy, i.e., highly sealed and highly insulated, with high-efficiency space heating systems.


The governments of Connecticut and Massachusetts should have implemented energy efficiency measures several decades ago.

However, the career, renewable energy bureaucrats in those governments had sexier measures in mind.


They had been contacted, and wined and dined, and taken on sales trips, by the sales forces of European companies, for several years.

Those companies had been implementing about 25,000 MW of offshore wind turbine systems in Europe, during the past 40 years.

The virtues of offshore wind systems were played up, the drawbacks were hidden/not mentioned, as is the normal practice.


RE bureaucrats perceived an RE panacea. A “popular” groundswell was artificially created, with help of:


1) The gullible/non-technical media, always eager to use sensational news to sell newspapers, magazines, TV shows, etc.


2) Wall Street’s financial services firms, which would create many MULTI-BIILION-DOLLAR tax shelters, for high-income multi-millionaires, for decades. See Note.


As a result, career RE bureaucrats have been celebrating the building of highly subsidized, very expensive, offshore wind systems, that would produce expensive electricity at about 2 to 3 times the NE average wholesale price of about 5 c/kWh. See Appendix


That price has been constant starting in 2009, already for 12 years, courtesy of the NE dual-fuel gas plants and nuclear plants, that reliably, and efficiently, produce steady, low-CO2, low-cost electricity, at less than 5 c/kWh.

Both sources represented about 42.6% (gas) and 21.9% (nuclear) of the annual electricity loaded onto the NE grid in 2020.

Comment by Willem Post on December 31, 2021 at 5:11am



Energy systems analysts of Denmark, Ireland, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, etc., have known for decades, if you have a significant percentage of (wind + solar) on your grid, you better have available:
– An adequate capacity, MW, of other power plants to counteract any variations of (W+S), 24/7/365
– High-capacity, MW, connections to nearby grids
– An adequate capacity of energy storage, such as:


1) Pumped hydro storage
2) Hydro plants with reservoir storage
3) Grid-scale battery systems


The more presence of variable (W+S) on the NE grid, the more the other generators have to vary their outputs, which causes these other generators to be less efficient (more wear and tear, more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh).


Owners in European countries with much wind and solar on the grids get compensated for their losses.

Those compensations are charged to the general public, not to the Owners of wind and solar systems, as part of the political (subsidy + cost shifting) regimen, to make wind and solar appear price-competitive versus fossil fuels.


RE folks often advocate:
1) Electricity must be 100% renewable, or zero carbon, or carbon-neutral by 2050
2) Getting rid of the remaining nuclear plants
3) Getting rid of natural gas, coal, and oil plants
4) More biomass burning
About This Article


This article has four parts and an Appendix

Part 1 provides an introduction to miscellaneous energy topics, and consumption of world energy quantities
Part 2 provides an introduction to existing NE grid conditions
Part 3 provides an introduction to daily NE grid load shaping, to deal with heat pumps and EVs in 2030
Part 4 provides the future NE grid conditions with 20% wind and 10% solar in 2050


The Appendix shows various energy topics, such as Turnkey Capital Costs of Grid-scale Battery Systems; Grid-scale Battery System Operating Cost in New England; Energy Losses of Battery Systems; “All-in” Electricity Cost of Wind and Solar in New England


Comment by Willem Post on December 31, 2021 at 5:10am

The EU is facing an energy crisis, because:


- Brussels’ RE idiots refused to sign long-term contract for gas from Russia
- The US, EU and NATO are stupidly trying to contain and pressure Russia.

- There is minimal wind, minimal solar, and some nuclear plants are down with “issues”

- The EU sucked gas from storage during summer, that would be needed in winter

- Germany and Belgium will close down more nuclear plants in 2022, for “green” reasons.


- Russia provides gas, as required by signed long-term contracts, plus about 5%
- The 5% is sold by Gazprom on the spot market at very high prices.

- Germany and France received all the 2021-contracted Russian gas by mid-December

- Germany is pumping some of that gas, via Poland, to Ukraine, which buys it at high cost, because “hate-Russia” Ukraine refuses to directly buy gas from Russia at low cost.

- Owners are diverting LNG carriers to the EU to rake in on the high-SPOT-price bonanza.
- US spot price $7/million Btu; EU spot price $65/million Btu


Here is an article that sums it up.



Comment by Willem Post on December 31, 2021 at 5:08am


CBO Estimates are Flawed


It is well known, at least among US Congress members:


1) CBO was created by the US Congress to create the appearance of “oversight”, and

2) CBO is billed “independent”, even though it is beholden to just one client, the US Congress. Anywhere in the world, this would be considered a conflict of intertest.


3) CBO has under-stated costs, over-stated revenues, and understated deficits of government programs for decades, plus CBO never shows a 5% to 10% contingency.


Over time, program eligibility and benefits are increased, but the offsetting revenues do not entirely cover the increased cost.

Table 1A shows an example of such estimating.


Government programs end up costing much more, and have less offsets, than “advertised”.

Government programs appear small, at first, but their costs inevitably grow beyond control

This has contributed to the huge $30 trillion US government national debt, over the decades.


Trust, but Verify; US Senators Getting a Second Opinion: In case of the multi-$trillion BBB bill, some US Senators obtained estimates from private entities, which, as they expected, revealed the CBO estimates were low-balled, in the usual manner.


Those estimates revealed, the combination of 1) artificially shortening expiration dates, and 2) CBO “estimating”, regarding the BBB bill, resulted in a deception of historic proportions.


As usual, the American people had no idea such shenanigans had been happening for decades, because the US Media does not properly analyze and publish the numbers, as was done in this article.


BTW, I sent this article to about 80 members of the VT Media, and almost all VT Legislators, and several VT quasi-government organizations, but there was no response.


Private Entity Estimates of BBB Bill: The Tax Foundation and Penn-Wharton are private economic consulting entities. They often estimate costs and impacts of government programs. Their estimates of the BBB Bill, based on various program expiration dates (US House version), are shown in table 1A


Columns 2 and 3 show the Tax Foundation and Penn-Wharton estimates. See Phase 2 for more detail.

Column 4 shows the CBO estimate, which is much less than the other estimates. See URL


Table 1A/US House BBB bill

Tax Foundation







Spending, per CBO




Tax credits




Total, includes interest
















Net IRS reinforcement




Drug price provisions












Deficit, excluding interest





Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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