New England states look to join forces on clean energy, natural gas procurement

2 min read
6 March, 2015

On Feb. 25, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island released a draft request for proposals that will help the region procure natural gas and renewable energy generation resources and possibly build out new transmission infrastructure.

"Connecticut requires 1,500 GWh per year of qualified energy and Massachusetts is seeking 817 GWh."

Procurement and infrastructure
The proposal, which is still within the 30-day comment period, seeks bids on new Class I renewable energy projects - which includes biomass, solar, wind and small-scale hydro - of at least 20 MW as well as large-scale hydro power projects that were constructed after Jan. 1, 2003.

Once the comment period is over, the states will begin seeking power purchase agreements that will total over 2,300 GWh of renewable energy per year, and can include generation that can be delivered with or without transmission upgrades.

RTO Insider reported that under state laws, Connecticut requires 1,500 GWh per year of qualified energy and Massachusetts is seeking 817 GWh. Rhode Island has not announced the need for a specific amount of electricity.

The initiative will also seek new natural gas resources for the region, which has historically struggled to maintain an adequate supply during the winter. According to a report from the Boston Herald, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker directed the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to file a request with the state Department of Public Utilities to see how the state's utilities can begin signing contracts for new natural gas capacity that will improve winter grid reliability and decrease costs.

Questionable winter grid reliability and high energy costs have long plagued New England.Questionable winter grid reliability and high energy costs have long plagued New England.

Two birds with one stone
The hope for this three-state initiative is that it will help the region answer two of its most pressing problems: Increasing the usage of cleaner electricity generation in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan guidelines and bolstering grid reliability in a region at risk for generation shortfalls.

New England is known for having higher electricity rates than most of the U.S. due to having only three major gas pipelines throughout the entire region. The region remains committed to renewable sources, but their intermittent nature leaves a significant role for natural gas in ensuring grid reliability.

A joint effort between the states is necessary because it will allow the region to procure clean power resources and transmission infrastructure in greater quantities than if each state tried to obtain them individually, the Boston Herald reported.

"By working together with neighboring states we can make the most efficient use of our resources to attract new clean energy projects at the lowest possible cost for ratepayers while advancing our interests in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases," Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said in a statement.

This content is property of ESCO Advisors and all reproductions must reference and link back to the ESCO Advisors website.

Speak to An Energy Expert

Get Email Notifications