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Summer's Power Usage Raises
Concerns for Next Year
Soaring temperatures meant that the Northeast power grid used seven billion cubic feet more natural gas during the summer than was injected. In Boston, as the heat index for Aug. 1-3 exceeded 100 degrees, electric power consumption climbed to just under 30 gigawatts. New England consumes about 18 GW on an average day, according to LNG Express.
"It's a major concern," Kenneth McDonnell, an ISO New England spokesman, said about the fears of insufficient energy next summer. "The long-term solution," he says, "is to build new power plants in the region."
Further south, PJM officials said the heat wave was the equivalent of adding another Baltimore and its suburbs to the system. Power producers on the PJM grid delivered a peak of 144 gigawatts, up 10 GW from the record set in 2005, LNG Express said.
"This is like a shot of adrenalin for power developers," J. Patrick LaStrapes, a Houston-based energy executive, says. "I suspect this summer's demand has spurred several development teams into high gear while spawning new ones. When demand exceeds supply, our industry bolts forward."