Improvements eyed for ISO-NE economic study process

Update: FERC issued an order accepting the revisions, which took effect March 31, 2023.

ISO New England is working to get more near-term actionable information and identify long-term system trends through its economic studies.

Since 2008, the ISO has completed 15 economic studies, looking at emerging trends including increasing interconnections with other regions, resource retirement scenarios, and the growth of renewable energy. Most recently, the Future Grid Reliability Study identified challenges that may develop by 2040 as New England transitions to a decarbonized grid supporting more electric vehicles and heat pumps.

As part of the region’s transition to the future grid, the ISO has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to accept proposed changes to its tariff that will better focus the studies on supporting the New England states’ energy policies and goals and informing investment in the transmission infrastructure necessary for new renewable resources, as well as higher demand from transportation and heating.

In its proposal, the ISO outlines a number of procedural changes as well as four “reference scenarios” aimed at making its economic studies more consistent and repeatable. That will provide greater insight into power system trends and facilitate the comparison of findings.

Under its tariff, the ISO is already required to give stakeholders the opportunity to request detailed economic studies of future transmission needs. If one of these studies identifies a need for new infrastructure, transmission companies have the opportunity to make competitive bids to carry out the project. The proposed rule changes would clarify that process.

The ISO has requested that FERC allow the proposed changes to take effect March 31.

Inside ISO New England
FERC, transmission planning