RENEW Protest to FERC Explains ISO Bias Against Renewables in Capacity Market

In a protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, RENEW Northeast explained how ISO New England’s proposal to give a no-bid contract to the Mystic 8 and 9 fossil fuel generation units will provide “undue” preference, advantage and prejudice prohibited by the Federal Power Act to those units at the expense of state policy resources like wind and solar. This discrimination will hinder attainment of state policy requirements and increase consumer costs.

The current Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”) rules subject new state-sponsored capacity resources to a Minimum Offer Price Rule (“MOPR”), which requires these sponsored assets to bid into FCM at an administratively determined price. The ISO believes that state-sponsored resources must be mitigated in the FCM to avoid a significant overbuild of the New England power system.  In its fuel security proposal, however, the ISO seeks to treat resources that have been retained for fuel security- not state sponsored resources- as price-takers in the FCA. The ISO asserts that treating fuel security risk units as price-takers “considers the contribution to resource adequacy of these resources when determining Capacity Supply Obligation (“CSO”) awards and setting the FCA clearing price,” and “will prevent the region from procuring more resources than are needed to meet its resource adequacy objectives.”  Of course, the same argument is true for state-sponsored resources. In requiring units having fuel security out-of-market agreements but not units having state-sponsored agreements to be price-takers in the FCA, the ISO is taking a position contradictory to its position on state sponsored resources and one biased against the contributions of state-sponsored resources. It is also one that gives “undue” preference and advantage to those retained fossil fuel units.

Should this provision enter the Tariff, it will join another aspect of the FCM design that disadvantages renewables which is the calculation of the CSO of variable renewable resources like wind and solar compared to generation with interruptible fuel like natural gas generation. While wind and solar are variable, the ISO operates an accurate forecasting system that renders a fleet of solar and wind resources dependable. Nevertheless, the CSO of variable resources is reduced to reflect actual wind and solar.  By comparison, all the factors that are driving the next round of fuel-security market improvements that the ISO must submit to the Commission by July 1, 2019, which are pipeline capacity limits and outages, disruptions that can accompany oil and LNG deliveries and limitations due to air emission permits, are limited to fossil fuel resources whose CSOs are not adjusted downward despite the limitations of their fuel sources.  The ISO’s lead-off memorandum to begin stakeholder discussions to meet the July 1, 2019, deadline states that the ISO will not be making any changes to the FCM, as it finds it is meeting its requirements for capacity, but will focus on energy market changes to address fuel security.  Although a CSO is designed to give the ISO a call-option on the energy from a capacity resource, the ISO apparently has no plans to reduce the CSO for resources they believe are causing the fuel security risk.

Unleash the Ocean Winds: 3 Signs that Offshore Wind Energy Has Arrived in the US

This post is by who is a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a director on the RENEW Northeast board.


UPDATE (Dec. 16, 1:34 pm EST): The intense bidding is finally over! After a marathon session that spilled into a second day, and 33 rounds (!) of bidding, the winner of the New York offshore wind area lease is Statoil Wind US. The $42.5 million winning price is by far the highest amount paid in any of the dozen auctions to date, and a real vote of confidence in the future of offshore wind in the US. Exciting times indeed.

It’s been quite a week for offshore wind in the US—new leases, new deals, and the first-ever offshore wind electrons in the Western Hemisphere.

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Wind Energy Experts Hold ‘Wind Think Tank’ in Maine

The brightest minds in the wind industry — among them, Sen. Angus King — are in town for a two-day American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) summit, discussing how to do wind better.

The senator called alternative energy critical pieces to saving the earth. “Fortunately, the technology in your industry, in solar, in electrical vehicles, in batteries and storage seems to be coming together at the right moment.”

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Wind Industry Meets in Portland, Maine for AWEA Regional Conference

The Maine Renewable Energy Association (“MREA”) and RENEW Northeast (“RENEW”) are pleased to welcome the American Wind Energy Association’s Wind Energy Conference – Northeast to the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks on Tuesday, July 19, and Wednesday, July 20.

“MREA and RENEW are thrilled that AWEA has again chosen Portland, Maine for its regional wind conference. Hundreds of people are coming to Maine to talk about all the exciting investment, employment, and clean air benefits of developing wind farms,” said Jeremy Payne, MREA Executive Director.

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Massachusetts energy bill advances without ratepayer savings

Amendment to HB 4377 would have boosted market competition

BOSTON, June 8, 2016 — The energy bill passed today by the Massachusetts House of Representatives, HB 4377, lacks an amendment that would boost competition and make carbon emission reduction commitments more cost-effective. The bill raises barriers to open competition between renewable energy sources and, without amendment, Massachusetts consumers stand to lose out on billions of dollars in savings.

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More competition in Massachusetts would mean more savings for consumers

A bill before the Massachusetts legislature could further cut carbon emissions by building on reduction goals from previous successful procurements under the Green Communities Act. By tapping into more affordable clean energy, the state’s residents can look forward to cleaner air.

The bill currently before the Massachusetts House of Representatives could make those carbon emission reduction commitments unnecessarily expensive, causing Massachusetts consumers to lose out on billions of dollars in savings.

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Insufficient competition in proposed Mass. energy legislation a big risk to consumers

Penalizes lowest-cost generation options like land-based wind

Boston, May 23, 2016 — Proposed legislation released by the Massachusetts House of Representatives today would reduce competition and severely limit greater access to low-cost, renewable energy resources, including solar and wind energy. If passed, this legislation would keep less money in the pockets of New England consumers.

“Diversifying New England’s energy mix by adding clean, renewable energy resources is important but we can’t do so at the expense of New England consumers,” said Francis Pullaro, Executive Director of RENEW Northeast. “House Bill 2881 would deprive New England homeowners and businesses of the potential for significant savings.”

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RENEW Congratulates Abby Krich for Rising Star Award

The New England Women in Energy and the Environmental (NEWIEE) recognized Abby Krich, founder and president of Boreas Renewables, with its Rising Star Award at the organization’s 2016 Awards Gala on April 14, 2016. Abby specializes in helping generation developers navigate their way through the ISO New England interconnection process and its energy and capacity markets. She also actively advocates on behalf of RENEW for electricity market rules and system planning that will allow for the development and integration of high levels of renewable energy.

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