Speakers Debate Massachusetts Clean Energy Legislation

Speakers at the EUCI US/Canada Cross-Border Power Summit on March 15, 2016, debated New England energy policies including pending legislation in Massachusetts on the procurement of clean energy resources, as reported by RTO Insider, “Market Policies, Emissions Goals on Collision Course in New England.”

Francis Pullaro, executive director of RENEW Northeast, which represents renewable energy developers and environmental organizations, said current market rules skew toward natural gas and disadvantage clean energy resources. Natural gas “resources are going to be built over the next couple years with generous capacity payments” that make financing easier to obtain, he said.

Under the FCAs run by ISO-NE, resources are able to lock in prices for seven years. Renewables, Pullaro pointed out, have little capacity value and are only able to obtain financing through long-term contracts, which states have required from the electric distribution companies.

“We really can’t add any more gas to the system than what is already expected to come onto the system over the next few years if we are going to meet our greenhouse gas reduction laws,” he said.

Primary among them is the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires a 25% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Several New England states have followed suit with similar emission-reduction goals.