10 Updates

Winter 2014: How Fuel Oil Saved The Day In New England

Apr 30 2014, 7:11pm CDT | by

The first three months of 2014 were cold in New England, but not that cold. In January, temperatures dipped well below the 20-year historical average in New England, but only a few times and only...

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12 weeks ago

Winter 2014: How Fuel Oil Saved The Day In New England

Apr 30 2014, 7:11pm CDT | by

The first three months of 2014 were cold in New England, but not that cold.

In January, temperatures dipped well below the 20-year historical average in New England, but only a few times and only for one or two days at a time.

“We had a cold winter, but we had spots of cold as opposed to, in 2004, where there was extended cold,” said Commissioner Moeller, while speaking at a technical conference convened by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in early April. “We have to assume that we will have another winter, if not like this one, perhaps even worse where an extended cold snap could further expose our vulnerabilities.”

These “spots of cold” created a series of crises for the electric grid that came dangerously close to becoming catastrophes.

For better or worse, oil was likely the only reason they didn’t.

In New England, coal and oil-fired power plants ran at or near full capacity for most of the winter. By contrast, natural-gas-fired power plants produced far less than their total capacity.

Per the Independent System Operator for New England : “[O]n January 28, when temperatures were very cold, gas generators produced only about 3,000 MW during the peak demand hour, although there was more than 11,000 MW of natural-gas generating capability.”

The economic consequences were bad, but not as bad as they would have been without oil.

Use of fuel oil by generators prevented in New England kept gas prices considerably lower than other parts of the Northeast during several cold weather events. For example, on January 22, natural gas prices reached $73/MMBtu at Algonquin Citygates in Boston. By contrast, spot natural gas prices at Transco Z6 Non-NY, prices spiked to $123/MMBtu, breaking all previous records.

Electric power prices also soared. The total value of the wholesale energy market in New England for the months of December, January and February, was about $5.05 billion, or roughly the same value of the entire 12 months of 2012.

All five natural gas pipelines that serve New England operated at or near full capacity. Needless to say, the natural gas pipeline system serving New England is far more constrained than anyone had previously appreciated – with the possible exception of the ISO-NE.

In early 2013, the ISO-NE created the “Winter Reliability Program” to address the problems created by pipeline constraints. The program paid about $80 million to oil and dual-fuel power generators to store more oil in their tanks than they otherwise would have. The program created an initial inventory of about 3 million barrels of oil. By February, about 2.7 million barrels of oil from program participants had been burned, or the equivalent of about 1.6 million MWh of electricity.

The strategy was expensive and dirty, but it was probably the only reason New England avoided rolling blackouts this winter. If anything, oil seems likely to become more – not less – critical for maintaining reliability in the near-term future.

By next winter, Vermont Yankee in southern Vermont and Salem Harbor units 3 and 4 in Massachusetts will be retired, reducing the region’s non-gas resource by about 1,200 megawatts.

“To put this into perspective, the Winter Reliability Program procured less than the combined capabilities of Vermont Yankee and the retiring Salem Harbor units,” said the ISO-NE recently.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was told tod ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into ...
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Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the D ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Mini ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in comp ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 milli ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) to ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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