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New England braces for harsh winter, blackouts amid energy crisis

"We’re going into this winter basically crossing our fingers and hoping."

Published: September 28, 2022 8:48pm

Updated: September 28, 2022 9:09pm

Amid an ongoing energy crisis driven, in part, by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, New England is preparing for a harsh winter and the prospect of rolling blackouts across the region.

To assess the situation, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent commissioners to Vermont earlier this month, according to the Boston Globe.

"We’re going into this winter basically crossing our fingers and hoping," FERC commissioner James Danly said of a likely energy shortage.

The Globe cited the destabilizing effect the war in eastern Europe has had on energy markets, in particular liquified natural gas. The outlet went on to highlight the region's current dependence of fossil fuels as an exacerbating factor in the potential crisis.

While a number of environmental activists are pushing for the long-term development of clean energy solutions to decrease the region's vulnerability to disruptions in fossil fuel supplies, officials have pointed out that such a plan will not address the immediate threat of an energy-deficient winter.

"There are all sorts of tools at our disposal," FERC chairman Richard Glick said, per the Globe.

ISO New England pointed out that part of the issue is that the region, in making its transition to renewable energy, is shutting down fossil fuel dependent energy plants faster than it is creating sustainable replacements, according to the outlet.

In a particularly eerie comparison, the Globe recalled a February 2021 freeze that plagued Texas during which hundreds lost their lives due to an energy shortage.

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