What’s Keeping the Lights On?

Welcome to Grid Brief. Today we’re taking our weekly look at power generation in America’s power markets.

What’s Keeping the Lights On?

As we mentioned on Monday during our look at power generation in the monopoly areas, the EIA has preemptively locked down its API for maintenance, so we can’t generate our usual graphs. Thus, we’ll be using the EIA’s graphs throughout. Starting with the nation-wide snapshot of generation:

Same window of time as Monday—natural gas, nuclear, and coal kept America running. Wind usurped coal twice.

And here’s a map to orient you as we move through the power markets:

ISO-New England

Natural gas, nuclear, and hydro were the top three generators in New England.

Connecticut and Rhode Island have opened bid solicitations for 2 GW and 1.2 GW of offshore wind, respectively, after announcing a multi-state memorandum of understanding with Massachusetts earlier in October, according to reporting from Utility Dive.

As covered yesterday, the CEO of the North America Electric Reliability Corp. and the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a letter warning that the loss of Everett LNG could make New England more vulnerable to winter storms.

New York ISO

Natural gas, nuclear, and hydro powered the Empire State.

A study from researchers at Cornell has pointed out that the state is in dire need of more capacity. “Our findings reveal a need for 61-105\% more firm, zero-emission capacity to ensure system reliability,” write the researchers. “Merely increasing wind and solar capacity is ineffective in improving reliability due to transmission congestion and spatiotemporal variations in vulnerabilities.”


Natural gas, nuclear, and coal were the stars in America’s largest power market.


Natural gas, coal, and wind kept the lights on in the Midwest Independent System Operator’s footprint.

MISO is trying to revamp its capacity auctions to ensure reliability, but not everyone is happy about its proposals. The Mississippi Public Service Commission called MISO’s plan “hokum,” according to Utility Dive.


Wind had an active week in the Lone Star state. At times, it overtook natural gas and often outperformed coal.

ERCOT has changed its policies on declaring grid emergencies, in some cases loosening the requirements for rotating outages.


California had a typical week: natural gas and solar were the dominant generators. Wind and hydro traded third place until wind dropped off.

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Conversation Starters

  • China aims to tighten regulation on parts of its energy sector. “China plans to tighten regulation of monopolies in the oil and gas and power sectors, among other vital industries, a commission of the Communist party has decided,” reports Oilprice.com. “The meeting of the commission, which is focused on economic reforms, has decided that the oil and gas and power industries, as well as railways and other sectors, could be easily monopolized but are crucial to the Chinese economy led by state-controlled companies, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday. China has also recently signaled it would further tighten control over its $61 trillion financial sector.”

  • Truckers in Central Africa gum up copper and cobalt exports. “A trucker strike in the Democratic Republic of Congo is blocking exports of copper and cobalt mined by producers including Glencore Plc and China’s CMOC Group Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter,” reports Bloomberg. “The drivers have refused to transport the metals, which are key to the global green-energy transition, from the mining hub of Kolwezi since last week, the people said. They are demanding an additional $700 per journey as danger pay, according to one of the people. The Central African country is the world’s largest cobalt producer and one of the biggest sources of copper. Almost all the material is trucked by road from south-eastern Congo to Zambia, destined for ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique.”

  • Solar generation looks to outpace hydropower in the US. “We forecast that the United States will generate 14% more electricity from solar energy than from hydroelectric facilities in 2024,” reports the Energy Information Administration. “Solar power outpaced hydropower again this summer due to exponential growth in installed solar capacity. From 2009 to 2022, installed solar capacity increased at an average rate of 44% per year, and installed hydroelectric capacity increased by less than 1% each year. In our STEO, we expect annual solar generation to surpass annual hydropower generation in 2024 for the first time.”

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