On March 2, the Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) held its first quarterly meeting of the year in Westborough, Mass., to discuss the role of nuclear power in New England, focusing on reliability, carbon reduction, and market prices. Matthew Wald, Senior Communications Advisor at the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association in Washington, DC., gave the keynote address. The meeting also included an update from ISO New England and a panel discussion with representatives from Excelon Corporation, NRG Energy, Inc., and UMass Lowell.
On Friday, March 24, 2017, Michael Henderson, director of regional planning and coordination, delivered a presentation at the New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable on the ISO’s 2016 Economic Study, which looks at renewable energy development under six different scenarios developed by the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL).
The Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) has recognized ISO New England President and CEO Gordon van Welie with a 2017 Annual Achievement Award for sustained leadership in transmission planning and market design evolution to accommodate the diverse future resource mix in New England.
New England is in the midst of a rapid expansion of power resource types, including wind and solar power, demand resources, and new energy storage options. Visit the ISO New England website to learn more about these emerging technologies and how the ISO is integrating them into the region’s electric grid.
Higher natural gas prices caused the average electricity price to edge up in February
The February 2017 average price of natural gas rose 6.7% year-over-year, pushing up the wholesale power price in New England by 2.4% to $28.05 per megawatt-hour (MWh)* compared to the February 2016 price of $27.39/MWh.
The 2.4% increase in wholesale power prices was smaller than the 6.7% increase in natural gas prices, in part because demand was lower in February 2017. Total energy consumption in New England declined by 7.1% in February, compared to energy usage during the previous February—but leap year was also a factor in year-over-year comparisons. Because 2016 was a leap year, February 2016 had 29 days, accounting for a portion of the higher energy consumption compared to the 28 days of February 2017.
A report from an affiliation of independent electric grid operators concludes that the future of the North American power grid depends on effectively adding renewables to the grid, the accuracy and availability of data from “behind-the-meter” resources and coordinating these distributed energy resources at the grid operator level to preserve reliability.
The report, “Emerging Technologies: How ISOs and RTOs can create a more nimble, robust electricity system,” was published March 16, 2017 by the ISO/RTO Council (IRC), an affiliation of nine non-profit independent system operators (ISO) and regional transmission organizations, including ISO New England. Collectively, IRC members serve two-thirds of electricity consumers in the United States and more than half in Canada.
In the report, the IRC defines a number of positions regarding policies, strategic approaches, worthy goals, and critical success factors members feel will either enable or hinder them in the near future.
On March 7, 2017, ISO New England completed a successful test of the backup control center (BCC) in Connecticut, a fully-redundant control room maintained in the event that the main control center (MCC) in Massachusetts is rendered inoperable.
At least once a year, ISO New England tests several aspects of system operations at the BCC to ensure that operations can be performed seamlessly should an emergency affect the MCC. During the four-hour exercise, the region’s bulk power grid was managed from the BCC, while the MCC remained fully staffed in the event that any issues occurred. These tests, run in accordance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards, exercise the functionality of the people, the processes, and the technology that serve control room operations.
Learn more about how we operate the grid.