What's Keeping the Lights On?

Welcome to Grid Brief! Today we’re looking at generation in America’s power markets with accompanying news items.

What’s Keeping the Lights On?

Here’s a look at generation nation-wide:

The Big Three reign supreme: natural gas, nuclear, and coal.

And here’s a map to orient you as we move through the market areas:

ISO-New England

Natural gas, nuclear, and hydro kept New England humming.

New England is notoriously dependent on imported LNG for its gas turbine fleet. But a substantial price drop for the super-chilled fuel is bringing relief to the region. Some utility customers in New Hampshire are expected to see rates drop as much as 59%.


Natural gas, nuclear, and coal kept the lights on in America’s largest power market.

PJM is looking to clear 300 new generation projects this year, most of which will be renewable energy and batteries. Because most of 26,000 MW of capacity are either intermittent and non-dispatchable or non-generators, available capacity problems persist for PJM. The grid operator remains concerned about reliability, as we investigate in our Deep Dive on the fight over the Brandon Shores coal plant.


Natural gas, wind, solar, and coal were the main generators in Texas. Wind punched into first place several times.

Texas added a record amount of battery storage to the grid last year. More is on the way for 2024. “The grid operator is anticipating adding 25,000 megawatts of battery power in 2024 and more than 40,000 megawatts in each of the next two years,” reports the San Antonio Express News.


Wind started out in second, just below natural gas in MISO, but then quickly slumped away. Coal played a reliable second fiddle while nuclear remained level whenever wind dropped to fourth.


Wind, natural gas, and coal were the stars of the Southwest Power Pool. Wind had a remarkably good week, in fact.

ISO-New York

Natural gas, hydro, and nuclear were the main generators in the Empire State.

A 1.7 magnitude earthquake jostled New York City yesterday, briefly knocking out the power.


Natural gas and solar were the two big players in California, with nuclear, hydro, and wind vying for third place.

CAISO has been quite the hotbed of news lately. As we covered yesterday, FERC approved its western day-ahead markets proposal and its rooftop solar ambitions are evaporating as tariffs shift and interest rates rise. Plus, FERC just rejected PG&E’s application for a $44 million return on equity for participating in the power market. Lastly, the state has succeeded in keeping its last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, open after plans to close it.

Upgrade to Grid Brief Premium to get extra deep dives into energy issues all over the world.

Conversation Starters

  • South Korea connects new nuclear to the grid. “Unit 2 of the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant in South Korea has began supplying its first electricity to the grid, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced. The unit is the second of two APR-1400 reactors at the site, with a further two planned,” reports World Nuclear News. “In a LinkedIn post, KHNP said the 1350 MWe pressurised water reactor was connected to the grid on 21 December. ‘Grid connection means connecting the electricity generated at the nuclear power plant to the transmission line and sending it to general households and industrial sites,’ it noted. The company added: ‘Shin Hanul unit 2 is the 28th nuclear power unit in Korea, and plans to contribute to the winter power peak with the power generated from today.’”

  • Russian pipeline gas exports to Europe plummeted in 2023. “Natural gas supplies to Europe by Russian energy giant Gazprom were down 55.6% to 28.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2023, Reuters calculations showed on Tuesday,” reports Reuters. “The calculations, based on data from the European gas transmission group Entsog and Gazprom's daily reports on gas transit via Ukraine, showed that average daily pipeline exports of Russian gas to Europe declined to 77.6 million cubic metres (mcm) in 2023 from 174.8 mcm in 2022.”

  • A nuclear waste repository site to be selected in Ontario. “A critical milestone is on the horizon for Canada’s 175-year-long plan to bury its nuclear waste underground, with two pairs of Ontario communities set to decide if they would be willing hosts,” reports Ontario Construction News. “Later this year, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization plans to select the site for Canada’s deep geological repository, where millions of bundles of used nuclear fuel will be placed in a network of rooms connected by cavernous tunnels, as deep below the Earth’s surface as the CN Tower is tall — if the process goes according to plan.”

Crom’s Blessing

Share Grid Brief

We rely on word of mouth to grow. If you're enjoying this, don't forget to forward Grid Brief to your friends and ask them to subscribe!