FERC Commissioner LaFleur discussed changing energy landscape at final Consumer Liaison Group meeting of 2016

The Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) held its last quarterly meeting of the year in Boston, Mass., on December 1, 2016. The meeting featured a keynote address by FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur; an update from ISO New England; and a panel discussion, New England States’ Clean Energy Initiatives: How Will Mandated Wind and Hydro Procurements Impact Customer Bills and the Regional Power Markets? 

Keynote Address

FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleurCommissioner LaFleur discussed the work of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, commenting on some of the challenges she sees on the horizon. She stated that most of the Commission’s work is driven by the changing energy landscape, highlighting the recent natural gas revolution and the growth in demand-side resources. She noted that a major challenge for the Commission will be the potential integration of environmental policy objectives into the nation’s wholesale electricity markets. She reaffirmed her belief in competitive markets, stating that they have worked well for consumers. She also acknowledged the work of New England stakeholders to develop potential wholesale market changes to accommodate the New England states’ public policy objectives (via NEPOOL’s Integrating Markets and Public Policy (IMAPP) initiative).

ISO New England Update

Anne George, ISO Vice President, External Affairs and Corporate Communications, delivered the ISO New England update, providing information on the 2016/2017 winter season, Forward Capacity Auction #11 (FCA #11), implementation of FERC Order 1000, and projected wholesale market costs for the year 2016.

George informed attendees that the ISO expects sufficient electricity supplies to meet consumer demand during the 2016/2017 winter season, barring any unexpected resource outages or fuel delivery constraints. She stated that natural gas pipeline constraints have been and continue to be a major reliability concern, but that increased pipeline capacity resulting from Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project will provide temporary relief this winter.

Anne George, ISO Vice President, External Affairs and Corporate CommunicationsGeorge also provided an update on FCA #11, which will begin in February 2017 to procure the capacity resources needed to meet the Installed Capacity Requirement (ICR) for the 2020/2021 capacity commitment period. The ISO qualified 34,505 MW of existing capacity resources and 5,958 MW of new capacity resources to compete in the auction to satisfy the net ICR, which is 34,075 MW.

George also gave attendees an update on the implementation of FERC Order 1000. George informed attendees that the transmission planning process has been revised to comply with FERC Order 1000, and that starting in 2017, the ISO, working with the New England states and stakeholders, will begin identifying public policies that are driving transmission needs.

Finally, George shared the ISO’s projection of wholesale market costs for 2016. The value of the energy market, the capacity market, and the ancillary services markets is projected to total $5.1 billion for 2016.

Panel Discussion

Mary Smith, Associate Director of Energy Supply and Utility Administration at Harvard University, moderated a panel of energy industry representatives who discussed the New England states’ clean energy initiatives and their impacts on consumers and the wholesale power markets.

  • Jim Bride, President of Energy Tariff Experts, discussed current trends relating to the costs of renewable energy mandates in the New England states and reviewed some of the policy-driven charges on retail electricity bills.
  • Ron Gerwatowski, Advisor on Energy Policy and Utility Regulation, discussed the New England Renewable Energy Credit (REC) market and how effective it is in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Greg Cunningham, Vice President and Director of the Clean Energy and Climate Change Program for the Conservation Law Foundation, discussed the IMAPP initiative and the work New England stakeholders have done to develop potential wholesale market changes to accommodate the New England states’ public policy objectives (e.g., state RPS requirements, renewable procurement requirements, and GHG reduction targets).

Speakers presentations are available on the CLG webpage.

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