On September 15, the Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) met in Providence to discuss Energy Infrastructure Projects Progressing in Rhode Island: Challenges and Consumer Impacts Regionwide. Seth Magaziner, General Treasurer for the State of Rhode Island, gave opening remarks, highlighting the work of the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, a centralized hub for energy-efficiency and renewable energy financing initiatives in the state.
ISO New England Update
Mary Louise Nuara gave the ISO New England update, providing information on NEPOOL’s Integrating Markets and Public Policy (IMAPP) initiative, Forward Capacity Auction #11 (FCA #11), and wholesale electricity costs. The IMAPP initiative, Nuara explained, is a formal stakeholder process led by NEPOOL to identify potential changes to the region’s wholesale electricity markets to accommodate the public policy goals of the New England states. NEPOOL has held three stakeholder meetings since August, with additional meetings scheduled for October 6 and November 10. NEPOOL plans to release a “framework document” in December to provide guidance to the ISO on potential changes to the wholesale markets.
Nuara also provided an update on FCA #11, which will be held in February 2017 to procure the resources needed to meet the Installed Capacity Requirement for the 2020-2021 capacity commitment period. Nuara explained that three capacity zones will be modeled in the auction: (1) a Northern New England Capacity Zone, which will include Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine; (2) a Southeastern New England Capacity Zone, which will include NEMA/Boston and SEMA/RI; and (3) a Rest-of-Pool Capacity Zone, which will include Western Central Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Northern New England Capacity Zone will be modeled as an export-constrained zone and the Southeastern New England Capacity Zone will be modeled as an import-constrained zone.
The panel discussion highlighted a variety of energy infrastructure projects progressing in Rhode Island and the greater New England region.
Jeffrey Grybowski, Chief Executive Officer of Deepwater Wind, updated attendees on the status of Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s first offshore wind farm nearing completion off the coast of Block Island. The wind farm consists of five, 6-megawatt (MW) turbines with a total nameplate capacity of 30 MW. The project includes the installation of an underwater transmission cable connecting Block Island to the mainland for the first time. The scheduled in-service date for the project is November 1, 2016.
John Niland, Director of Development for Invenergy, discussed Invenergy’s $700 million proposal to build Clear River Energy Center, a dual-fuel natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville, Rhode Island. The project consists of two combined-cycle units with a total output of 1,000 MW. The commercial operation date is planned for June 1, 2019 for the first unit and June 1, 2020 for the second unit.
Richard Kruse, Vice President of Regulatory and FERC Chief Compliance Officer for Spectra Energy, discussed Spectra Energy’s gas pipeline facilities in New England, including the Algonquin Gas Transmission (AGT) pipeline system and the Maritimes & Northeast (M&N) pipeline system. The AGT pipeline system consists of approximately 1,129 miles of pipe, transporting up to 2.63 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The M&N pipeline system consists of approximately 346 miles of pipe, transporting up to 0.83 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Kruse explained that the AGT and M&N pipeline systems connect to roughly 60% of New England’s gas-fired generators.
Bill Malee, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for National Grid, discussed the investments made in electric transmission infrastructure by the region’s transmission owners. These investments, he noted, have reduced congestion on the system, benefitting customers regionwide. Malee also discussed National Grid’s Connect 21 Strategy – an initiative to create a more customer-centric, resilient, responsive, efficient, and environmentally-sound energy network to meet the needs of the 21st century.
The next meeting of the Consumer Liaison Group will be held on December 1, 2016, at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, visit the CLG webpage.