backed by Baker,
plays power politics
A sharp-elbowed game of power politics surfaced publicly on Thursday as it became clear that Vineyard Wind, backed by Gov. Charlie Baker, had sought and failed to participate more fully in an electricity auction that would have made the wind farm’s backers a lot of money while also driving down the price of electricity in New England.
The political gamesmanship arose in connection with an auction run by the regional power grid operator ISO-New England, which was seeking commitments from power generators to provide electricity three years from now – in 2022-2023. Normally such auctions receive little attention, but this one was unusual because Vineyard Wind, which hasn’t even begun construction of its 800 megawatt wind farm yet, sought to participate.
Vineyard Wind’s participation raises a host of thorny regulatory issues for the overseers of the region’s wholesale electricity market. That market consists of two major sub-markets. One is a day-ahead energy market, which sets “clearing prices” for electricity delivered to the power grid the next day. The other is a forward capacity market, which sets prices for what are basically options to purchase electricity three years out. The goal is to make sure the region has enough power to keep the lights on.
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