- The current top concern for the New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE) is a lack of natural gas pipeline capacity. Without it, the grid operator may not be able to meet customers' peak demand needs for heating and electricity this winter, according to CEO Gordon van Welie.
- In the 2014 Regional System Plan, ISO-NE projects losing 4,600 megawatts of generation capacity by June 2017 but expects 4,500 megawatts of new natural gas capacity and 3,700 megawatts of new wind capacity to be added to sustain the regional power system—if natural gas can be delivered to the new generation facilities.
- Though natural gas will increase from 2013’s 43% to 48% by 2017, ICF International projects inadequate pipeline capacity will cause winter natural gas shortfalls for ISO-NE through 2020 and ISO-NE itself expects shortages on 24 days to 34 days or more each winter through 2019/2020.
The ISO-NE 10 year plan expects the system’s 2,100 megawatts of energy efficiency and demand response to help keep electricity usage down to a 0.7% annual increase in summer peak demand.
Last year’s predicted surplus capacity was lost to closures of the 1,912 megawatt Vermont Yankee nuclear facility and Massachusetts’ 1,517 megawatt Brayton Point coal facility.
ISO-NE’s eighth Forward Capacity Auction failed to drive adequate resource acquisition for 2018/2019, driving capacity prices up.
To correct the capacity market, ISO-NE will implement a PJM-like sloped demand curve to flatten price volatility. It will also allow 7-year locked clearing prices, provide incentives to keep oil and dual-fuel generators in service, reward over-productive capacity generators, and penalize those that fall short.
A $6.6 billion investment in 559 new transmission projects over the last 10 years has eliminated bottlenecks to electricity delivery.