The president of New England’s power grid operator called for greater oversight of the natural gas industry to avoid shortages. His comments underscore the need for reliable fuel sources, such as propane, that are independent of the grid.

Gordon van Welie, president of ISO New England, made a case for the electricity and gas markets to be regulated separately, saying that the two energy sources, while interdependent, are altogether different and should be treated as such.

“Congress established rigorous regulatory oversight and mandatory standards over the bulk electric system after the 2003 blackout but has not established a comparable level of oversight and standards for the single biggest source of energy to that system,” Van Welie said, referring to natural gas, the CommonWealth Beacon reports.

He says the transition to renewable energy will further increase demand on electricity, which is why there needs to be a steady reserve of gas as a supplemental energy source.

“As has been demonstrated in recent events in other regions, the electric and gas systems are interdependent and a failure in one system impacts the other. [Power grid operators] have no jurisdiction over the natural gas system and do not have the expertise to determine whether it will remain reliable through the energy transition,” van Welie said, the Beacon reports. “Gas infrastructure and supplies will be needed well into the future until commercially available renewable fuels, or alternative technologies, are economic. In particular, while we expect that the average usage of gas will decline, our modeling shows that the peak demand for gas and oil will increase during periods when renewables are not able to perform. Our studies indicate that the most vulnerable scenarios occur during winter cold snaps.”

These are the challenges many regions are facing as they transition to renewable energy. That’s why propane must remain a vital part of the energy mix. Propane is a versatile, clean-burning fuel that can keep homes and businesses powered during grid disruptions with backup generators.

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