ISO New England Inc., the operator of the region's bulk power system and wholesale electricity markets, recently released the results of a months-long study evaluating renewable resource potential in the region and beyond, as well as the economic and environmental impacts of that development.
This technical analysis was used as a basis for the initial draft of the ‘New England Governors' Renewable Energy Blueprint,’ prepared by the New England States Committee on Electricity and recently shared with the six New England governors for their consideration.
Through this process, regional policy-makers hope to identify the available sources of renewable energy – both here and in neighboring regions – and determine the most effective means to encourage development of those resources across New England's power grid.
The objective of the study was to evaluate a hypothetical future power system under a number of scenarios. The study focused primarily on wind development, but also considered other resources, such as demand resources, plug-in electric vehicles, expanded imports and energy storage technologies.
Though the study did not offer specific recommendations for resource or transmission development, key findings from the analysis include the following:
– Significant amounts of potential wind resources could be added to New England's system, provided that appropriate transmission expansion is in place, with offshore wind resource integration offering the most cost-effective use of new and existing transmission. The study considered and tested a wide range of additional wind resource integration scenarios, from 2,000 MW to 12,000 MW. A separate, ongoing ISO New England wind integration study is looking at operational issues surrounding large integration levels.
– For all of the scenarios considered, new transmission investment would be required to move energy from renewable resources to consumers throughout New England.
– Annual wholesale electric energy prices would be generally lower with the addition of renewable resources that have low or no fuel costs, such as wind, or when overall electricity use is reduced, as is the case when high levels of demand resources are added to the system.
SOURCE: ISO New England Inc.