Is Boston the New Japan?
People in Boston and northern New England have been shedding every kind of electrical generation that falls out of favor, substituting instead with natural gas. Vermont is about to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear station. Brayton Point, New England's last remaining major coal burner, is shutting down in 2015. To make up for all this, the shift to natural gas in producing electricity is already on.
But somebody forgot to take one thing into account. Where are they going to get all this natural gas? Pipeline capacity is very weak and new pipeline construction is meeting the usual knee-jerk opposition. Energy? Who needs energy? As a result, natural gas prices have spiked this winter to unprecedented heights and there may be far worse to come. The closings of Vermont Yankee and Brayton Point haven't even taken place yet and already the demand from electrical plants is bumping up against the demand for home heating, which constitutes the major use of gas in the region.
Within another year, New England may find itself in the same position as Japan - paying exorbitant prices for energy sources that are available for much less in places that aren't so squeamish about their energy sources.