Region’s electricity market in trouble

Dan Dolan, the president of the New England Power Generators Association, says the wholesale electricity market is facing an existential crisis, failing to meet the needs of the six New England states and the region’s electricity generators, whom he represents. “The direction we’re moving in with out-of-market contracts for renewable energy and special contracts for reliability is putting the risk right back on ratepayers...................

New England states began offering subsidies and tax breaks to make solar and wind power more affordable. This year Massachusetts went much further, signing 20-year contracts committing the state’s electricity customers to pay for large-scale offshore wind and hydroelectricity projects. The prices were so attractive that lawmakers on Beacon Hill shouted, “more, more, more!”

As van Welie was struggling to come up with a way to deal with these large, out-of-market clean energy procurements, he faced another challenge. Natural gas, plentiful and relatively cheap most of the year, became scarce during prolonged cold spells when a combination of strong demand for gas for heating and limited pipeline capacity made it difficult for power generators to get the gas they needed to operate their plants. Suddenly, the market’s reliance on natural gas became a big problem. Last winter, for example, the combination of a 15-day severe cold spell and the pipeline constraints on natural gas forced generators to burn 2 million barrels of oil, far more than they burned in all of 2016 and 2017 combined...........................New Hampshire and Maine say Massachusetts environmental policies are creating the fuel security problem...................................In a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Maine notes how Massachusetts has blocked construction of a new natural gas pipeline into the region. Both states say new Massachusetts environmental regulations that took effect on January 1 require Bay State power plants to steadily ratchet down their greenhouse gas emissions, making it difficult for those facilities with dual-fuel capability to shift to oil when gas is scarce.

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Comment by Long Islander on December 12, 2018 at 3:24pm

Several factors could affect power this winter

Comment by Dan McKay on December 12, 2018 at 8:37am

   State sponsored electricity contracts, AKA, Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) are certainly changing the generation mix in New England. The two market system ( 1. )The competitive wholesale market administered by ISO-NE.(  2.) The contracted system developed by state policies(PPA) ) is headed for a clash that is bound to destroy one or the other while inflicting painful rate increases all the way.

    Massachusetts and Connecticut, as the heavyweights of the New England Grid continue to dictate the generation mix with programs designed to eliminate fossil fueled plants.
     Maine, with 12% of it's existing generation ( all wind ) contracted to Mass., Conn. and R.I. has to start considering how further sponsorship/ownership of electricity generation in Maine by Southern New England States will impact our rates, especially if the ISO-NE wholesale market crashes under the weight of accelerating PPA offers.
      The deviation of electric prices among the separate New England states is growing as state policies expand clean energy requirements.       Massachusetts and Connecticut are higher and Maine and Vermont are lower The larger states that reach out to clean generation sited in Maine could, if the ISO-NE market were to shut down or become severely ineffective, gain market power over the regional electric market. Power bought by PPAs, which are now resold into the ISO-NE wholesale market at lower prices based on competition with non-sponsored resources might very well be sold at higher prices without the wholesale market no longer controlling them. As price deviations increase, ratepayers in higher priced electricity states will question their own current state policies and demand a level playing field that may lead to  sudden leverage on pricing. He, who owns the electricity owns the market.
Comment by arthur qwenk on December 11, 2018 at 8:25pm

Is Maine a sovereign state, or a stooge to the failed energy politics  to the south?

Dumb Question indeed.

Comment by arthur qwenk on December 11, 2018 at 8:22pm

Green Ideology and faulted energy  politics coming home to roost on guess who..the rate payer..!

The "Green Scam", a failed ideology that keeps on screwing the public..Yellow Vests anyone?

More wind turbines anyone?

Sad indeed.

Comment by Penny Gray on December 11, 2018 at 6:42pm

Mind boggling.  I use to think, when I was a child, that people grew up and got smarter.

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."


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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