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Northeast Grid Relies on Oil

Meredith Angwin

Meredith Angwin, Physical Chemist, Naturalist, Educator: Extremely cold weather stresses the grid. During recent below-zero weather in New England, our grid was saved by oil. Most people believe that burning oil for electricity is a thing of the past, but that's only partially true. In general, gas-fired power plants cannot always get gas in cold weather, because home heating has priority for gas deliveries. And our grid is heavily dependent on gas. It was not merely "lucky" that oil was available for the power plants during the deep freeze; it was planned.