Forward Capacity Auction 17 set for March 6

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted ISO New England’s proposed Installed Capacity Requirement (ICR) and related values for the 17th Forward Capacity Auction (FCA 17).

Scheduled to begin on March 6, the auction will procure the capacity resources—including traditional power plants, renewable generation, imports, and demand resources such as load management and energy-efficiency measures—needed to meet the region’s projected demand for electricity from June 1, 2026 to May 31, 2027.

The ISO submitted two documents for FERC’s review ahead of the auction:

  • The ICR filing provides a detailed description of the ICR and related values associated with the system and zonal demand curves used in the auction.
  • The informational filing provides technical details about the auction, including the capacity resources qualified to participate and the capacity zones that will be modeled based on characteristics of the transmission system.

Installed Capacity Requirement

The ICR is the minimum level of capacity needed to meet reliability requirements for New England’s power system.

FERC accepted the ISO’s proposed ICR of 31,306 megawatts (MW) for FCA 17. The figure assumes 2,100 MW in aggregate emergency assistance available from New Brunswick, New York, and Québec. The ICR does not include 1,001 MW in Hydro-Québec Interconnection Capability Credits. With those credits, the net ICR is 30,305 MW.

Capacity zones

For each auction, the ISO studies transmission constraints and sets capacity zones that signal areas of the power system with a potential shortfall or surplus of capacity. Multiple zones help ensure that capacity is located and priced appropriately.

Three capacity zones will be modeled in FCA 17.

A capacity zone is export-constrained if its available resources, after serving local demand, exceed the area’s transmission capability to export the excess electricity. The ISO sets a maximum capacity limit in these zones that can be used to meet New England’s demand for electricity. For FCA 17, the limit is 8,595 MW in the Northern New England Capacity Zone and 4,065 MW in the Maine Capacity Zone.

There are no import-constrained capacity zones for FCA 17.

Related auction inputs

The ISO’s FCA 17 informational filing included other important auction inputs:

  • The ISO qualified a total of 32,518 MW of existing capacity resources to participate in the auction, including:
    • 29,402 MW from existing generating resources (intermittent and non-intermittent),
    • 84 MW from existing import resources, and,
    • 3,033 MW from existing demand resources.
  • The ISO qualified 239 new capacity resources totaling 5,032 MW to participate in the auction.
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FCA 17, forward capacity market