Natural Gas Electric Interface

Studying West-wide Natural Gas-Electric Interdependencies

Reliance on natural gas for electric generation has grown significantly in all regions of the U.S. including the West.  Low gas prices, environmental regulations, and improving technologies have all contributed to rapid and sustained investment in new gas-fired power plants across the U.S.  Natural gas generation has, in many parts of the country, become the default resource for new generation, and the reliability of the power sector has become fundamentally dependent on the ability of natural gas infrastructure to supply gas to generators at the moment it is needed.  Historically, the natural gas and electricity industries have evolved independently.

In response to growing concerns about the increased reliance on natural gas on electric reliability, studies have been performed around the country and nationally (see below).  In the West, WIEB commissioned an Interconnection-wide assessment of gas-electric interdependencies. This study, Natural Gas Infrastructure Adequacy in the Western Interconnection: An Electric System Perspective, investigates the adequacy of gas infrastructure in the Western Interconnection to meet the needs of its electric sector. The study is divided into two phases:

      Phase 1 Report (March 2014). Full Report [pdf] | Executive Summary [pdf]

      Will there be adequate natural gas infrastructure (interstate and intrastate), including storage, to meet the needs
      of the electric industry in the Western Interconnection approximately ten years in the future?

       Phase 2 Report (July 2014). Full Report [pdf] | Executive Summary [pdf]

      Will the gas system have adequate short-term operational flexibility to meet increased volatility in hourly electric
      industry natural gas demand due to higher penetration of variable renewable resources in the Western
      Interconnection?

      E3 Presentations:  Phase 1 [pdf] | Phase 2 [pdf] | Phase 1 & 2 [pdf]

The purpose of investigating these questions is to focus the regional dialogue on gas-electric coordination issues; assess the magnitude of potential issues and the regions affected; and provide guidance to policymakers, regulators, pipeline companies and electric sector planners on actions that may be needed to overcome potential challenges resulting from the reliance on natural gas for power generation.  The study was performed by Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) and DNV GL with oversight and guidance from a Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Group composed of representatives of inter- and intra-state pipelines, utilities and other electricity generators, policy makers from around the West and FERC, NERC and DOE.

More recently, WECC has launched an interconnection-wide assessment of the adequacy, security, and risks associated with natural gas infrastructure and its ability to reliably meet evolving Bulk Electric System needs [pdf] . This assessment will build upon previous and related work including the WIEB commissioned study. WIEB is helping to guide the day to day work on the study by serving on the technical advisory committee.  The study is expected to be completed in 2018.

 Additional Study Documents

  • Project Summary [pdf]
  • Overview of Scenarios and Contingencies [pdf]
  • Memo: Use of Platts Data in the Study for Natural Gas Infrastructure [pdf]
  • Motion Establishing Task Force [pdf]
  • Compilation of Task Force’s Initial Comments [pdf]
  • Study Scope of Work from RFP [pdf]
  • Request for Information (RFI) [pdf]
  • RFI Informational Meeting Summary [pdf]

 Staff Papers

  • Summary of Four Gas-Electric Interdependency Assessments [pdf]
  • Interdependency Studies with Links to Reports [pdf]
  • Table of Regional and National Gas-Electric Studies [pdf]
  • Staff Paper: Regional Collaborations [pdf]

 Pacific Northwest

  • Natural Gas-Electricity Primer, NW Task Force (Aug. 2012) [pdf]
  • The Role of Natural Gas in the Northwest’s Electric Power Supply, BPA (Aug. 2012) [pdf]
  • Northwest Mutual Assistance Agreement (Sept. 2012) [pdf]
  • The Implication of Natural Gas Supply, Infrastructure and System Operations on Pacific Northwest Power Generation Projects, NIPPC (Aug. 2012) [pdf]
  • Power & Natural Gas Planning Taskforce Scheduling Report, NW Task Force (expected 2017)

California

  • California ISO Procedures for Gas Derates or Outages (Aug. 27, 2012) [pdf]
  • California Natural Gas Infrastructure Assessment with Impact of Renewable Generation, CEC/ICF (2009) [pdf]
  • Aliso Canyon Risk Assessment Technical Report (Apr. 5, 2016) [pdf]
  • Aliso Canyon Action Plan to Preserve Gas and Electric Reliability for the Los Angeles Basin, CPUC et al. (2016) [pdf]

Eastern Interconnection

  • MISO Gas & Electric Infrastructure Interdependency, EnVision (Feb. 2012) [pdf]
  • MISO Analysis of Daily Pipeline Capacity Availability, EnVision (Jul. 2012) [pdf]
  • Assessment of New England’s Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity to Satisfy Short and Near-Term Electric Generation Needs: Phase II, ICF (Nov. 2014) [pdf]

Texas Interconnection

  • ERCOT Gas Curtailment Risk Study, Black and Veatch (Mar. 2012) [pdf]

National

  • FERC Order 587-V (July 19, 2012) [pdf]
  • FERC Staff Report on Nov. 15 Gas-Electric Coordination Order (2012) [pdf]
  • NERC Primer of the Natural Gas and Electric Power Interdependency (2011) [pdf]
  • NERC Short-Term Special Assessment: Operational Risk Assessment with High Penetration of Natural Gas-Fired Generation (2016) [pdf]
  • NERC Special Assessment: Single Point of Disruption on Natural Gas Infrastructure (Dec. 2016) [pdf]
  • NAESB Gas-Electric Harmonization Committee Report (Sept. 2012) [pdf]
  • Nat’l Pipeline and Storage Infrastructure Projections to 2030, INGAA/ICF (2009) [pdf]
  • American Natural Gas Midstream Infrastructure to 2035, INGAA/ICF (2011) [pdf]
  • Implications of Greater Reliance on NG for Electricity Generation, APPI/AEG (2010) [pdf]
  • Gas Storage Needed to Support Electricity Generation, APPI/AEG (2012) [pdf]