ISO New England, the region’s grid operator, highlights the challenges posed by inaction on increasing natural gas infrastructure in its State of the Grid 2018 remarks:
All options are costly, whether the region chooses to invest in renewable
energy with the related transmission, or in fuel infrastructure with long-term contracts, or in further measures to reduce demand for wholesale electricity and natural gas.
However, inaction also comes at a cost, including greater risks to reliability and higher emissions when it’s more economical to burn oil than natural gas. The financial cost could include chronic price spikes during cold weather. And if reliability risks are imminent, the ISO will take steps to avoid them. That could include paying non-gas resources not to retire.