The New England states are considering whether to expand large hydropower imports into New England with the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) anticipating submitting a report on possible options to New England’s governors by the end of the year.
According to NESCOE, land-based and offshore wind resources will be largely responsible for meeting the region’s renewable energy goals and transmission upgrades will be needed to make larger quantities of wind energy deliverable in the years ahead.
Transmission lines to bring large hydropower into New England should be planned to allow wind power to tap into those lines to bring clean energy from remote regions to population centers. This will allow for the most economic use of the lines as wind and hydropower can complement each other to achieve a higher utilization rate on the transmission lines
“Renewable energy like wind and solar can work together with hydropower and, if done in a smart way, that combination can help move the New England States towards a clean energy future,” said Francis Pullaro, Executive Director of Renewable Energy New England, Inc., (RENEW). Large-scale hydropower may play a role in making long distance transmission upgrades more economic allowing additional wind energy to be brought online. Wind and hydropower can work together to keep consumer electric rates down, reduce pollution, and improve electric reliability by diversifying our energy mix.
RENEW encourages the states to consider that hydropower contracts should reduce emissions beyond what would otherwise happen in a business as usual case. “To count towards climate change goals, it is essential that any hydropower contract actually reduce emissions and not simply shift emissions around the region. This could happen if states are simply importing hydroelectricity that would have otherwise served Canadian load or the load of another U.S. state. States should ensure that their hydro contracts have strong safeguards to measure and verify legitimate, new emissions reductions,” said Pullaro.
RENEW welcomes the opportunity to work with the states to find ways to lower the cost of new transmission, possibly using large-scale hydropower, to support increasing the amount of variable renewable resources like wind energy and/or provide cleaner and more reliable balancing power.
At the June 12th meeting of the Connecticut Power & Energy Society, several RENEW members participated in a panel discussion on the role of wind power in Connecticut’s energy future. The panelists discussed recent legislation in Connecticut and Massachusetts promoting renewable resource development, the environmental benefits of wind power, siting wind plants in Connecticut, and the future of wind development in New England’s Atlantic waters. Eric Johnson, Director, External Affairs at ISO New England, was the moderator.
Renewable Energy New England, Inc., (RENEW) applauds Governor Dannel Malloy for supporting new statutory provisions that will expand the benefits of affordable renewable energy for Connecticut electricity customers. Those provisions, included in larger energy legislation Senate Bill 1138 and House Bill 6360, both of which recently achieved final passage in the legislature, will help encourage the development of new, affordable renewable energy in Connecticut and New England.
RENEW praises Senate President Donald Williams and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, Energy & Technology Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Bob Duff and Rep. Lonnie Reed, Committee Ranking Members Sen. Clark Chapin and Rep. Laura Hoydick, the full membership of the House and Senate, and Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel Esty for their leadership in expanding Connecticut’s nationally leading energy policies.
“A section of Senate Bill 1138 authorizes DEEP to enter into long-term contracts with renewable energy developers. Long-term contracting opportunities will enable the industry to make long-term investments and reduce the cost of RPS compliance for consumers. Across the country, renewable energy long-term contracts result in lower costs for consumers with the added benefit of drawing economic investments into states where the projects are located. The resulting projects stand to give the administration’s ‘cleaner, cheaper’ energy agenda a major advance.” said RENEW Executive Director Francis Pullaro.
The bill also gives the state the opportunity to coordinate its procurement of renewable energy with the other New England states following a resolution adopted at the 2012 meeting of the New England Governors’ Conference. The benefits from regional coordination will arise by capturing some of the economies of scale from larger renewable energy projects and, in the years ahead, potentially facilitating additional intra-regional transmission capacity to deliver the energy from those resources.
Utility-scale wind projects in particular have been highlighted in recent analyses for the New England States as the leading solution to meet New England’s collective renewable energy goals. Large scale wind resources are clean, cost-effective and enhance the reliability of our region’s bulk power system.
To help ensure Connecticut receives the economic development benefits of having those projects sited in the state, House Bill 6360 contains a provision to facilitate the adoption of wind siting regulations that have been drafted by the Connecticut Siting Council. Adoption of the regulations will allow wind project developers to submit new applications to build projects in the state.