Hey Massachusetts - how about some natural gas pipeline into Maine just for starters?


13 AUGUST 2018

Stowe, Vt. – Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement:

“Affordable and reliable energy is a fundamental precursor for a vibrant and competitive New England economy. New England states have to be competitive to attract and retain businesses and residents. Efforts must be made to keep electric rates as affordable as possible. Increasingly, cleaner sources of energy have also become important to our energy system, regional economy, and shared environment. It is vital that our pursuit of a reliable and lower-carbon grid leverage available technologies and competitive markets to foster affordable electric rates for all consumers, particularly the most vulnerable among us.

“Energy policies implemented at the state level strive to balance affordability, reliability, and sustainability. While these policies can have some impact on prices paid for by retail consumers, there are costs largely outside of state control – including wholesale electricity markets and transmission costs – which can represent half the cost of consumer electricity bills. These cost drivers are regulated in Washington, D.C. by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and are highly correlated with the planning assumptions and operational actions taken by ISO New England (ISO-NE), the entity that manages the region’s electric grid and underlying wholesale energy markets.

“As a general matter, ISO-NE’s mission is to ensure regional electric power system reliability and implement efficient wholesale markets. While ISO-NE’s mission statement requires that ISO-NE ‘strive to perform all its functions and services in a cost-effective manner,’ the states urge ISO-NE to ensure that affordability and rate impacts be expressly considered and analyzed with respect to proposed market rules and initiatives. Maintaining a safe and reliable energy system – both regionally and locally – is paramount; however, the markets and operational characteristics that underpin a reliable energy system should be tempered with the recognition that New England families and businesses ultimately pay the costs for that system. Any new market actions to support system reliability must have a full accounting of the benefits and costs to regional consumers.  

“ISO-NE has identified winter fuel security as the most significant issue facing the region. This issue affects both regional reliability and affordability. The New England states and ISO New England have recognized the challenge of increasing reliance on natural gas-fired generation during cold periods when the region’s natural gas is used primarily for heating. These concerns have been heightened as non-natural gas-fired generation resources, such as nuclear, coal, and oil, have retired in recent years. During recent winters, ISO-NE has been relying on more expensive, carbon-intensive oil-fired units to ensure sufficient generation to meet hour-by-hour demands on our energy system.

“The states are committed to use the tools within their jurisdiction to advance solutions to the winter fuel security issue. There is no one clear solution to the problem, and each state’s policy priorities will inform the solutions that the states want to prioritize. For example, energy policies that can address winter fuel security include: 

  • Public education campaigns during cold weather periods to conserve non-essential electricity and heating fuel, similar to the messaging conducted during summer heat waves;
  • Demand response, where gas and electric customers reduce consumption in response to price signals during peak hours;
  • Aggressive implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency measures, including weatherization and combined heat and power, which reduces overall consumption of electricity and natural gas; and
  • Investment and siting of infrastructure for new, clean generation resources such as large-scale hydropower and off-shore wind, the production of which correlates very well with cold weather periods;
  • Working with Congressional delegations to address whether the Jones Act should be modified to ensure that LNG can be delivered in a timely manner during winter months;
  • Examine state permitting options that would optimize the use of dual fuel units to meet operational fuel security needs while maintaining state environmental requirements; and
  • Examining potential additional infrastructure, including natural gas storage in key areas that could be used by gas-fired generation.

“As the ISO-NE works to develop new market incentives for fuel security, it is essential that the ISO-NE accurately define the nature and extent of the problem, ensure that reasonable assumptions are made regarding available resources, and provide transparent information regarding the operational benefits of different solutions. They must also demonstrate the extent to which existing state energy policies may be leveraged to reduce or eliminate system constraints, and, at minimum, accommodate key state energy public policy drivers. When considering market design options, the ISO-NE must also examine whether existing markets that provide similar services are providing benefits commensurate with the costs borne by New England customers. 

“Effective next June, the region will have two nuclear power plants that represent approximately 3,500 MW of baseload energy that is not dependent on natural gas infrastructure and also helps to meet emission goals. While some regional programs, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative assign value to clean energy resources, it is important to continue to evaluate cost-effective policies that properly value existing clean energy resources which have significant fuel security implications.

“The New England states, working in collaboration, commit to making energy costs in the region more affordable. In the short term, the states will actively collaborate this fall to develop a mechanism for engaging residents and business in conservation efforts during cold snaps; such efforts would communicate the economic and reliability benefits of conservation during winter months. Given state jurisdiction over energy resource choices as well as environmental policies, the New England states have a crucial role in implementing regional solutions. We look forward to working with ISO New England, New England Power Pool, and other stakeholders in achieving this goal.”


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Comment by Willem Post on August 15, 2018 at 6:06pm

1) Shutting Down Nuclear, Gas, Coal and Oil Plants


The Consultant Synapse and CLF do not mention they are opposed to nuclear, gas, coal, and oil plants. They are aiming to shut them down in future years. If they were shut down, about 80% of NE generation would disappear. See below table.


2) Low-Cost Domestic Pipeline Gas versus High-Cost Foreign LNG


The Consultant and CLF are opposed to additional gas lines gas to bring more gas to New England, and are opposed to additional gas storage systems. CLF supports the 100% RE proponents in New York State and Massachusetts, who have blocked pipelines to bring low-cost, domesticnatural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale.


The Consultant and CLF want New England to rely on Russian and otherforeignLNG at threetimes the prices of domestic pipeline gas, to get us through high demand crunches in winter. That LNG would be delivered to a French-owned LNG terminal (owned by ENGIE, a French company), in Everett, MA, by foreign-ownedLNG tankers, built in Korea, which would increase our trade deficit.


The Consultant and CLF do not mention New England LNG markets would remain highly profitable and become even more profitable for foreigners, such as Russia, France and Korea.

3) Synapse was paid by an activist group of 100% RE proponents:


- Conservation Law Foundation

- Acadia Center

- New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate

- PowerOptions

- RENEW Northeast

- Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

They did not like the way ISO-NE had made its analysis. All these sponsors are avidly promoting wind, solar, and other measures. Synapse Energy Economics is their go-to consultant to provide them with reports that support their views and objectives.

Synapse made a study that second-guessed ISO-NE, made its own assumptions, and then claimed New England's electricity supply would be just fine, because all New England states have pledged increases in wind and solar and increases in energy efficiency. In particular the consultant claims:

- New England states will continue to meet their existing mandates that require increasingly higher percentages of electricity come from new clean, renewable sources including solar and wind power.

- Energy efficiency savings, increases in solar power, and decreases in demand for electricity will continue as ISO itself has forecast for the next 10 years.

- Existing regional liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets will remain profitable and reliable sources of on-demand winter energy, as they have for the last several years.

Comment by Dan McKay on August 15, 2018 at 5:27pm

Other New England State's  control of generation selection has put Maine in a precarious position of poisoning the energy veins throughout our state with unreliable renewables ( wind, solar) which means we Mainers will be the first to endure blackouts when the output from reliable sources can't meet ISO-NE area demand, Get the hell out of the ISO-NE, which is controlled and corrupted by Mass. management before it is too late !!

Comment by Willem Post on August 15, 2018 at 4:35pm

Hi Steve,

In reality, the grid has to be over designed to accommodate all the distributed, variable wind and solar, plus it has to have storage to mitigate short term variations.

That would be a much more expensive and complicated grid than would be the case with more gas, nuclear and hydro from Quebec, as you suggest, plus the wholesale prices of the electricity would be at least 2 to 3 times more expensive, with much of the extra costs shifted to household electric rates in the form of taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills.

Comment by Steve Thurston on August 15, 2018 at 4:23pm

Looks like the nukes will get increased capacity payments to keep them on line.  NE's policies should encourage new nuclear plants, pipelines for gas and transmission for Hydro Quebec and the supply issue is solved.   Stop subsidizing and mandating wind and solar.  They simply add unnecessary cost without any benefit to ratepayers.  The grid must be designed and built as if wind and solar do not exist because much of the time they don't.

Comment by Willem Post on August 15, 2018 at 2:10pm

The statement offers winter energy solutions for the long term, but not for any 2018/2019 cold period.

Comment by Willem Post on August 15, 2018 at 2:07pm

It looks like RE proponents had a major input into that statement regarding winter energy.

- Conservation Law Foundation

- Acadia Center

- New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate

- PowerOptions

- RENEW Northeast

- Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

New England needs more gas line capacity to bring more DOMESTIC gas to NE, instead of Russian and Middle East LNG at 3 times the price.

Wind and solar in NE are non-starters, because NE has the worst wind conditions, except the South and the worst solar conditions, except the Northwest, AS WAS PROVEN during the past 2017/2018 cold spell by ISO-NE hour by hour generation data.

" Working with Congressional delegations to address whether the Jones Act should be modified to ensure that LNG can be delivered in a timely manner during winter months;"

Modifying the Jones act to allow shipping LNG from Louisiana to NE would be at 2 times the price.


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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