- Requests for proposals submitted by National Grid and Eversource run afoul of Massachusetts' regulations requiring energy resources be considered on equal footing, according to a group of clean energy developers led by the Acadia Center, Smart Grid News reports.
- Eversource and National Grid in October issued requests for proposals, which focused on gas storage, pipeline capacity and liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply.
- Both utilities are partners on the Access Northeast pipeline, along with Spectra Energy, which would bring up to 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) into the New England region.
Acadia Center is leading a coalition of clean energy developers, including Renew Northeast, Vermont Energy Parks and Northeast Clean Energy Council, in petitioning National Grid and Eversource to re-issue a request for proposals they say unfairly focused on natural gas resources.
"The utilities limited their solicitation to a particular set of resources, gave notice to no other resources, and established a timeline so short, only their partners could submit timely responses," the groups said in the letter. "The RFP not only pre-judges the results by effectively barring competition, but also virtually guarantees that the Commonwealth’s ratepayers will pay more than necessary to achieve a reliable winter energy supply.”
The coalition has asked the utilities to redraft its RFP to consider alternative resources; however, responses were due last week.
Issued on Oct. 23, the procurement closed Nov. 13. The group's letter also notes that the procurement appears to run afoul of Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ requirements that procured resources compare favorably to “all energy resources reasonably available in the market that have the potential to address the objective of providing electricity at a reasonable cost and that compare favorably in terms of price and non-price factors.”
Acadia and the groups also seemed to cast doubt on the need for the resources, pointing out that the utilities' procurement closed shortly before the expected release of a Regional Electrical Reliability Options Study undertaken by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and following the announcement of electricity rates for the winter of 2015-2016 that are lower than past years.
Eversource’s winter rate of 10.39 cents/kWh is 27% lower than last year, Acadia said, and National Grid’s rate of 13.03 cents/kWh is almost 25% lower than last year.
The two utilities are both partners on the Access Northeast pipeline, designed to address insufficient natural gas pipeline infrastructure in New England. A lack of capacity is driving electricity prices higher, the utilities said in a statement announcing their participation earlier this year. They also said a need for gas supply is limiting economic competitiveness and growth, and straining systems "to the point where serious reliability issues threaten public safety and security."