Posts from Lisa Shidler

Texas and California are opposites in many ways, including their expectations for power prices in the summer ahead. Texas set single-day demand records several times last year and is anticipating more sizzling temperatures — and higher power prices — this year with demand expected to be near available supply. It’s the opposite for California, where the state’s extensive renewable buildout and higher-than-normal hydropower resources are helping keep a lid on power costs. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll examine the factors impacting Texas and California that are causing these polarizing power conditions. 

The intermittent nature of renewable energy is a well-documented thorn in the side of efforts to decarbonize the power grid, especially with more wind and solar generation coming online every year. But while those sources of clean energy are not available all the time, it’s also true that they can sometimes produce more power than transmission lines or a power grid can handle during other periods, leading to curtailments. An increasingly important tool that can lessen the impact of both problems is power storage. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll address the limitations of today’s storage options and look at how long-duration energy storage (LDES) could play a critical role in the years ahead.

The uncertainties around solar power are well understood — when the sun doesn’t shine as much as expected, power grids that rely heavily on that generation must turn elsewhere to meet consumer demand. And while a shortfall in solar generation can be challenging to navigate, the difference between actual and forecast levels is typically only a few percentage points and power grids are usually ready and able to make up any difference. But what happens when the sun is largely obscured by the moon for several hours across a wide swath of the country? In today’s RBN blog, we’ll discuss the impact of the October 14 partial eclipse, preview the path of the April 8 total eclipse, and outline the steps being taken to ensure that power grids are ready for it. 

When the Group of Seven (G-7) countries placed a $60/bbl cap on the price of Russian crude oil in December 2022 — one of many responses to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine — there were two primary goals. The first was to keep Russian barrels flowing to the market to help keep global prices in check, and the second was to slash the profitability of Russian oil exports and thereby reduce its ability to wage war against Ukraine. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how effective the sanctions have been and how Russia has tried to work around the price cap. 

The Everett LNG import terminal, a mainstay of Boston’s gas grid, is expected to close by the end of May 2024, raising questions about future gas supply in New England. The terminal’s closure is closely tied to the imminent loss of its biggest customer, the 1,413-MW Mystic generating station — the region’s largest fossil-fuel plant. Constellation Energy, which owns both the Everett terminal and the Mystic power plant, has said it can’t keep Everett open next year when the Mystic plant closes unless another gas purchaser takes its place. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll address the impacts of Everett’s potential demise on New England in the short term and on regional gas supply during future polar vortex events.