Commonwealth Magazine: Generators burned 2m barrels of oil over 15 days

A New England cold snap stretching from late 2017 through early 2018 triggered the region to rely significantly on oil.

From December 25 until January 9, New England power generators burned close to 2 million barrels of oil, which is more than they burned during the rest of 2017 and all of 2016 combined.

Oil is generally not a preferred fuel for producing electricity because it is relatively inefficient at generating power and it produces far more greenhouse gas emissions than most other fuels. Typically, oil is used to produce 1 to 3 percent of the region’s electricity….

The analysis by Vamsi Chadalavada, the chief operating officer of ISO-New England, also indicated the region came dangerously close to running out of oil before temperatures increased. The region began December with 4 million barrels of oil on hand for power generation. By January 1, stocks were down to 3 million barrels; stocks fell to 1.1 million barrels of oil on January 9 as oil-fired plants operated around the clock to meet power demand.

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