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Gas/Electric Coordination

The Brattle Group has unparalleled expertise in both the electric power and natural gas industries and is at the forefront of navigating important issues involving the gas-electric interface.

Natural gas use as a fuel for electricity generation has increased dramatically in the last decade, and this trend may continue in the future with the continued availability of low-cost natural gas resources and further retirements of coal and nuclear generation plants. Consequently, from the electricity industry’s perspective, natural gas plays a pivotal role in the provision of reliable electric service, and the price of natural gas is a key determinant of wholesale electric power prices. From the natural gas industry’s perspective, electric power is the fastest growing demand sector, and the natural gas supply chain depends upon reliable electricity supply (e.g., electric compressors used by natural gas pipelines). Both industries are therefore increasingly dependent on each other.

Our consultants have helped ISOs/RTOs, utilities, state regulators, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), ratepayer advocates, and electric generators understand the issues surrounding gas-electric planning. We have provided them with strategic insights, analytical support, expert reports, and testimony.

Engagements
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Below is a list of representative engagements for our Gas/Electric Coordination practice.

State proceedings to evaluate gas pipeline expansion for electric supply
In similar proceedings, Brattle was retained by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Maine Office of Public Advocate regarding the appropriateness of developing new natural gas capacity to the New England area in order to support electric reliability and the economy. The proceedings considered how any new capacity should be sponsored or compensated by the electric distribution companies (EDCs). We analyzed the drivers of natural gas price spikes in New England and identified the scope of potential solutions, along with developing a framework for determining whether such procurements would be in the public interest versus other alternatives. We recommended the use of total resource cost (TRC) as the primary economic evaluation metric instead of metrics that are based on price suppression. We also suggested implementation approaches that included a competitive and open procurement process, especially in light of the potential for conflicts of interest due to EDC participation in some proposed pipeline projects.
Gas-electric reliability challenges for Midwest ISO
Brattle consultants advised the Midwest ISO regarding potential gas-electric challenges the ISO might face as coal retirements and retrofits cause more reliance on natural gas in the region. Brattle consultants catalogued the existing gas-electric challenges and solutions currently implemented and proposed in other ISOs. In addition, Brattle consultants provided an assessment of the cost of firm gas versus the cost and operational characteristics of dual-fuel capability.
Connecticut Integrated Resource Plan and assessment of reliance on gas in New England
Brattle consultants worked with the investor-owned utilities in Connecticut in multiple years to develop a statewide 10-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) under a legislative mandate. As part of the IRP, Brattle experts analyzed natural gas market supply and demand conditions in New England and the effects of reliance on natural gas on the reliability of the New England electricity grid. The results were published and presented by Brattle and the utilities before state regulatory and advisory bodies.
FERC comments on gas-electric industry coordination
Brattle experts submitted comments before the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to a request for comments regarding the role that the FERC should have in overseeing better coordination between the natural gas and electric power industries in order to prevent outages and reliability problems. Brattle experts highlighted regional differences and recommended that the FERC develop a thorough evidentiary foundation of the nature of the risks facing each region. For those regions that would demonstrate risks of un-served gas demand, Brattle suggested a second stage to design tactical solutions. These included: information sharing between gas and electric market participants; possibly new obligations on electricity market participants to have firm gas supply or other firm, flexible alternatives available during peak gas demand periods; different kinds of contingency (risk) planning; and/or potential new pipeline services and pricing to reflect short-term operational issues.
Experts
Publications
Presentation
Demand Response for Natural Gas Distribution: Opportunities and Challenges
June 2018
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.

The study evaluates both the potential benefits of and challenges hindering natural gas demand response (DR).

Report
Is inexpensive natural gas hindering the grid energy storage industry?
October 05, 2015
Roger Lueken and Eric Hittinger
Published in Energy Policy
Article
Gas Demand Response
2011
Published in Public Utilities Fornightly's Spark
News & Knowledge
June 06, 2018
Brattle Analysis: Natural Gas Demand Response Could Alleviate Peak Supply Constraints

A study released today by Brattle economists evaluates both the potential benefits of and challenges hindering natural gas demand response (DR).

February 13, 2018
Sam Newell to Present at National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Winter Policy Summit

Brattle Principal Sam Newell will present at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) Winter Policy Summit, taking place February 11-14, 2018 in Washington, DC.

July 17, 2017
Michael Kline to Present at National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Summer Policy Summit

Brattle Senior Associate Michael Kline will present at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) Summer Policy Summit, taking place July 17-19, 2017 in San Diego, CA.

January 15, 2016
Report by Brattle Economists Reveals Increasing Competition Between Renewable Power and LNG-Fueled Gas-Fired Generation in Global Energy Markets

A new report by economists at The Brattle Group finds that competition between renewable power and gas-fired generation using liquefied natural gas (LNG) from North America is increasing in overseas markets as a result of declining renewable power costs.