The report Electricity Supply and Demand on the Evolving Power Grid describes transformation of New England’s power system, challenges expected and innovative solutions which the ISO is pursuing to ensure reliable electricity for the region’s homes and businesses.
The report discusses how investment in transmission and state clean-energy policies over the past two decades have transformed the region’s power system, resulting in enhanced reliability, cost-effective pricing, and reduced emissions
Between 2002 and October 2017, the ISO invested $10 billion and implemented about 750 transmission projects.
The investments have led to less risk of blackouts and lower wholesale energy costs for consumers, as well as less air pollution and operational costs for utility companies.
In 2017, the ISO met 99% of its total energy demand with electricity generated from low or no emission energy resources including natural gas, wind and hydropower.
Three keys to success of the regional energy market include competition, the ISO’s selection of the lowest-priced offers and competitively determined prices.
ISO New England and clean energy
Wind power seeking interconnection resources surpassed proposed new natural gas fired energy for the first time.
About 4,000 MW of that wind power would be offshore of Massachusetts, with most of the remaining 4,500 MW located in Maine. This means huge investments in transmission is required to transport wind energy to far-away consumers.
The system operator estimates it will direct an additional $2.3 billion in investments in transmission projects through to 2022.
ISO New England expects fewer projects for reliability purposes going forward. However, additional transmission projects will be driven by new reliability standards or to support efficiency of wholesale electricity markets or public policy goals.
According to ISO New England:
• Demand Is trending downward over the next decade, but may trend upward in the long term
• 14.8 million people in 7.2 million households and businesses rely on New England’s power system.
• Electricity consumers used over 121,000GWh of electricity from the grid in 2017, down from a record high of 136,355GWh in 2005.
• Weather drives consumer demand. During 2017’s cooler summer, peak demand hit only 23,968MW in contrast to the all-time peak demand of 28,130MW in 2006.
• Over 130,000 solar power installations span the six New England states, totaling about 2,400 MW
• About 2,700 MW of active demand response and energy efficiency also reduce demand.
• In the long term, grid demand could increase if the transportation and heating sectors are electrified as part of the New England states’ decarbonisation efforts.
• New England has about 350 dispatchable generators, able to supply roughly 29,000 MW of electric power for summer 2018 and 31,000 MW for winter 2018/2019 (seasonal claimed capability
• Energy efficiency and solar power are driving down New England’s annual energy use over the next decade. The states are projected to spend $7.2 billion on energy efficiency between 2021 and 2026.
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