Governor Mills, New England Governors Call for Modernization of Regional Electricity System

October 14, 2020

Five Northeast Governors Seek Reform of Market Design, Transmission Planning, and Governance Needed to Achieve States’ Mandates for Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Power

Recognizing the critical role that New England’s regional wholesale electricity market plays in addressing climate change and cost-effectively reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions, Maine Governor Janet Mills and Governors from four Northeast states today issued a statement calling for reforms (PDF) needed to achieve their states’ respective goals for clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.  

“It is far past time that New England reforms how its electric grid is managed,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. “The wholesale electricity markets must advance and support clean energy laws and policies, as the states demand decarbonization and markets and consumers support more renewables. ISO-New England must keep pace with state priorities and it must be more transparent and accountable in its decision making, broadening its focus to include consumer and environment concerns as well as reliability and cost.”

The statement, signed by Maine Governor Mills, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott calls for reform of the regional electricity market design, transmission planning process, and the governance of the ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power system.  A Vision document outlining specific areas for reform will be released later this week through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), a non-profit entity that represents the collective perspective of the New England states in regional electricity matters.

“When Connecticut deregulated our electricity sector, we were promised competition, lower risk for ratepayers, more affordable electricity, and a system that respects and accommodates our clean energy mandates,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “What we got is a system that has actively hindered our efforts to decarbonize the grid, and imposed burdensome costs on Connecticut ratepayers to fix market design failures. Working together with our neighboring states, I’m committed to achieving a regional electricity grid that provides the affordable, clean, and reliable electricity that Connecticut families and businesses deserve.”

“To meet to our Administration’s goal of net zero emissions in Massachusetts by 2050, the Commonwealth needs a regional electricity system that can support the delivery of clean, affordable, and reliable energy to residents and businesses,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “My administration looks forward to working with our partner states, ISO-New England and stakeholders to build a more transparent, modern and cost-effective power system that will allow New England states to meet our ambitious climate change and clean energy goals while creating a better future for our residents.”

“Here in Rhode Island, we're committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing our future. I’m proud that we're on track to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “In order to meet our shared clean energy goals and aggressively combat climate change, it’s clear we need to take a regional approach.”  

“I’ve long said our work to address climate change can and must also work to make energy more affordable for Vermonters, so I’m pleased to be a part of this regional approach to achieving both of these priorities,” said Vermont Governor Phil Scott.  “With a strategic, multi-state approach we can have a greater impact on both climate change mitigation and energy affordability.”

In the coming months, the states will convene open and accessible forums to ensure that all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in further refinement of the principles of the shared Vision.

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Comment by Willem Post on October 16, 2020 at 7:01am

Vermont Yankee would RELIABLY run, at near FULL PRODUCTION (90+% capacity factor, one of the highest in the US and in the World), for about FIVE HUNDRED DAYS.

Then it would shut down for about 4 to 5 weeks for refueling, and make all sorts of improvements, with as many as 1000 outside contract workers on the site, plus its own staff, 24/7.

All would be highly choreographed, planned to the last detail, with simulations, during the 500 days of running time.

Then VY would restart and RELIABLY produce for ANOTHER 500 days, all at NEAR-ZERO CO2.

Dem/Prog Shumlin and Co hounded VY out of business, by REFUSING to sign a LONG-TERM contract at 6 c/kWh, because Vermont RE folks were against VY, and wanted to replace VY LOW-COST electricity with heavily subsidized, weather-dependent, variable wind and solar, HIGH-COST electricity, both of which cannot EXIST on the grid, without the OTHER generators varying their outputs to counteract the variations of wind and solar, 24/7/365, including dealing with GRID-DISTURBING, midday, solar DUCK-curves.

Close down these OTHER generators, as was done in California, and ALL HELL breaks loose, such as frequent rolling brown-outs/rolling black-outs (a la Third World), which likely would occur during stressful conditions, such as heat waves and wind/solar lulls, when their combined output is less than 15% of normal for that time of year, for up to 5 TO 7 DAYS.

Some folks say we will have energy storage.

Custom-engineered, large-scale battery systems cost about $500/kWh delivered as AC to the high voltage grid.
Any electricity passing through such battery systems has a loss of about 15 to 20 percent, on a high voltage AC in, to high voltage AC out basis.

Electricity fed into the NE grid is about 120 BILLION kWh/y, or an average of 0.33 BILLION kWh per DAY.
The peak feed-in is about 0.5 BILLION kWh/d, such as on hot days.

If wind and solar had been 50% on an ANNUAL basis, or 60 BILLION kWh/y, as RE folks think we should have, and a multi-day lull would occur during winter (minimal solar for that time of year), leaving us with less than 15% of whatever would have been produced, during that time of year, would batteries make up the missing wind and solar?

If so, their capacity would be at least 1 to 2 BILLION kWh to cover shortages and battery losses during the lull.
Multiply times $500/kWh, and we are talking some real money, i.e., $500 billion to one $trillion.

What if a SECOND lull were to occur a few days later?
It would take strong winds, plus some winter solar, to recharge the batteries to be ready for that second lull.
What else would charge these batteries, if not SURPLUS wind and solar, which would have to happen between the lulls?

All this is nothing short of a nightmare, and yet a VERY REAL scenario, if RE folks have their way.

Comment by Kenneth Capron on October 16, 2020 at 1:07am

The whole opposition to CMP corridor and in favor of a public takeover are poorly disguised efforts to force fossil fuels out of the energy generating business.

Comment by Dan McKay on October 15, 2020 at 1:59pm

This move anticipates the closure of fossil fuel plants to be replaced with wind and solar. How sick can our lawmakers be ?


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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