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Eastern Interconnection Completes Gas-Electric Interface Study

The six participating planning authorities of the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC) -- ISO New England, New York ISO, Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator, Midcontinent ISO, PJM Interconnection and the Tennessee Valley Authority -- have completed a natural gas-electric system interface study as part of a planning effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

draft of the report provides a comprehensive analysis across the study region of the adequacy of the natural gas pipeline delivery system to meet the needs of the gas-fired electric generation system under various conditions over a 10-year horizon. It includes identification of constraints on the gas pipeline system, as well as many local gas distribution systems that may affect gas delivery to generators both prior to and following potential gas and electric system contingencies. It also details possible mitigation measures to alleviate the impacts of such conditions.

The interface study has been underway for nearly two years, with the bulk of the report released previously (see Daily GPIAug. 5, 2013). Study results are expected to help improve gas-electric coordination to ensure electric system reliability.

Preliminary results in EIPC's final Target 4 draft report, released late last year, indicated that dual-fuel capability "has a much lower cost for a new combined-cycle plant" than firm natural gas transportation for power generators in the Eastern Connection, and for simple-cycle plants the difference is even more pronounced (see Daily GPIDec. 18, 2014).

In 2013, EIPC completed a transmission analysis as part of an electric system transmission planning effort funded by DOE, and the government agency asked EIPC to look into whether the country's natural gas infrastructure is up to the challenges posed by increased gas-fired power generation (see Daily GPIApril 30, 2013).

A separate study, released by the Eastern Connection States Planning Council and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, concluded that investment in mainline natural gas pipelines is the largest component of infrastructure expenditures in the natural gas sector, followed by lateral pipelines, processing and storage equipment.

Options to address New England's natural gas capacity demand and other options to address the region's electricity reliability needs through 2030 will be the focus of a study announced this week by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (see Daily GPIJuly 7). That study, which will include an evaluation of all potentially available energy resource options to meet reliability needs (including natural gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas, oil, hydro imports, energy efficiency, demand response and renewables), is scheduled to be completed by October.

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