ISO-NE CEO emphasizes importance of market changes, fuel security in appearance before Congress
On July 26, Gordon van Welie, President & CEO of ISO New England, testified on Capitol Hill on the ISO’s efforts to further electric reliability and prepare wholesale electricity markets for an expected influx of renewable energy resources driven by state public policy initiatives. At the hearing, the US House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee heard from representatives from all seven U.S. Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations on the benefits of wholesale markets as well initiatives undertaken by individual ISO/RTOs to meet regionally-specific challenges.
van Welie stressed that while the New England power grid remains very reliable, the region continues to undergo a rapid transformation of its power plant fleet. The transition will be furthered by a number of state public policy programs driving a sizable growth in renewable energy in New England in the coming years; projects with the potential to significantly impact wholesale markets. In response, the ISO has proposed changes (known as Competitive Auctions with Sponsored Policy Resources (CASPR)) to the Forward Capacity Market (FCM) to enable the reliable transition from older oil- and coal-fired resources to new renewable energy projects.
van Welie noted that he last appeared before the subcommittee in March 2013, and that the issues he highlighted in his earlier testimony have an even greater importance in 2017. Specifically, he stressed efforts to prepare for the retirement of a substantial amount of oil, coal, and nuclear capacity in New England, and the importance of making appropriate investments in fuel infrastructure and fuel delivery arrangements to ensure regional reliability.
Addressing an issue of particular importance to the subcommittee, van Welie also noted ISO New England’s ongoing efforts to secure the critical cyber and physical assets owned and operated by the ISO. In particular, he highlighted that the bulk power system is the only industry subject to mandatory and enforceable cybersecurity standards (the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection standards), as well as specific initiatives being undertaken by ISO New England.
For more information about the hearing, please visit the House Energy & Commerce Committee webpage.