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Grid Chief Warns of Future NE Power Problems

POWER-LINESBOSTON (AP) — The head of New England’s power grid manager is warning that the region’s growing dependence on natural gas, combined with supply constraints, is threatening reliable electricity delivery.

Gordon van Welie of ISO New England testified in Washington D.C. on Tuesday before a House subcommittee that “the status quo is unsustainable.”

Van Welie said the region gets more than half its power from natural gas, a shift over the last decade from a reliance on a more diverse mix, including coal and oil.

But he said the shift is straining the existing pipeline infrastructure. He said when demand was particularly high this winter, it was difficult to ensure there was sufficient fuel.

Van Welie said more pipelines and storage is needed. He also said the ISO is strengthening market incentives to ensure adequate fuel supply.

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