- ISO-New England has rejected a request to retire the 1,500 MW, coal-fired Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, saying the facility is needed to maintain grid reliability in the region.
- The plant's owners, EquiPower Resources, in October asked the ISO for permission to shut the plant in mid-2017.
- ISO-New England could work out a deal to pay EquiPower to keep the plant open. Also, the ISO will watch to see if pending transmission upgrades could allow the plant to be retired without hurting grid reliability.
The issue at Brayton Point highlights how natural gas has affected power generators in New England. About 40% of the region's electricity came from coal a decade ago. In 2012, less than 4% came from oil and coal. This shift makes New England vulnerable to any sudden increases in natural gas prices. For example, National Grid's power prices are up 18% this year from a year ago.