ISO-NE, stakeholders discuss transmission planning and siting innovations at Boston roundtable

The role transmission will play in the transition to a cleaner energy grid was the focus of a presentation by Robert Ethier, Vice President of System Planning at ISO New England, at the New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable event on September 29.

In his presentation, Ethier highlighted the dramatic and swift shift in proposed resources from natural gas to renewables. Wind and battery storage resources account for more than 80% of the 38,000-plus megawatts (MW) of proposed resources in the ISO’s Interconnection Request Queue as of September 2023. However, not all proposed projects end up being built.

The presentation also discussed changes in ISO New England’s transmission planning process, in particular the forthcoming 2050 Transmission Study, which is designed to look beyond the traditional 10-year planning horizon.

“The 2050 Transmission Study is the first of its type taking a forward look at needs,” Ethier said. “This was done in conjunction with the states, and it’s important to note it is not a specific plan for any particular lines.”

In her keynote presentation, Maria Robinson, director of the US Department of Energy Grid Deployment Office, provided a snapshot of the mission of the department, underscoring enhanced transmission planning activities, in particular for the development of offshore wind.

A second panel discussion, focused on innovations in clean energy siting, featured Houtan Moaveni, executive director of the New York Office of Renewable Energy Siting, and Elizabeth Mahony, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

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new england states, renewable resources, transmission planning