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CT Mirror: A Battle to Get More Clean Energy into New England’s Electric Grid is Underway

Posted by Jan Ellen Spiegel on Apr 26, 2021

CT Mirror examined the ISO-New England market, quoting AEE’s Caitlin Marquis on the benefits of a regional competitive wholesale market. Read snippets below and the full story here.

In January 2020, Katie Dykes, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection — speaking to environmental advocates attending the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters annual environmental summit — leveled this broadside at the independent system operator that runs the six-state New England electricity grid and the federal authorities that govern it:

“Because of the lack of leadership on carbon at the ISO-New England, we are at the mercy of a regional capacity market that’s driving investment in more natural gas and fossil fuel power plants that we don’t want and that we don’t need,” she said. “This is forcing us to take a serious look at the costs and benefits of participating in the ISO-New England markets.”

It was widely misunderstood.

“People interpreted that as physically leaving the grid,” Dykes said a year later. “Ratepayers have gotten a lot of benefits of more reliable and affordable power by participating in a regional grid.”...

And that, she has also said repeatedly, means the grid needs to change...

A blueprint called the New England Energy Vision was unveiled in October, signed by all six states through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), which represents the six New England governors’ electricity interests. The Energy Vision launched a series of online public forums featuring experts on the key areas the states felt needed overhaul: the wholesale market, transmission and governance. A fourth on equity and environmental justice was added later. The forums have generated a blizzard of documents, presentations, studies, comments and more — all laden with an alphabet soup of acronyms.

While success is not guaranteed, the effort is now bolstered by a new administration in Washington that is already making ambitious moves to deal with climate change including appointing new leadership at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the ISO-NE and other grid operators… 

Caitlin Marquis, a director at Advanced Energy Economy, a trade association for the clean energy industry, worried. “Are you getting six different tiny markets?” she asked. “It’s a big responsibility for the states to take back what they did used to have, but it’s not something they’ve been responsible for, for a while.”

“A well-functioning, organized, regional competitive wholesale market is a really great place to do business, because it gives the market certainty,” said AEE’s Marquis. “It allows companies to innovate and make investments, take on risks.”

Read the full story here.

Topics: AEE In The News