FERC accepts ISO-NE’s longer-term transmission planning changes

New approaches that give the New England states greater control in achieving their energy and environmental policies and goals are now included in ISO New England’s longer-term transmission planning process.

On July 9, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) accepted the second phase of ISO New England’s Longer Term Transmission Planning (LTTP) tariff changes. The changes create a new process that will operate in addition to current transmission planning protocols.

The process will allow the region to implement transmission system upgrades based on the results of longer-term transmission studies such as the recent 2050 Transmission Study. The rules provide an avenue for the states to evaluate and finance transmission upgrades needed to ensure a reliable grid throughout the clean energy transition. At the request of the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), the ISO will issue and evaluate requests for proposals (RFPs) to address needs identified by the states. In addition, the ISO will provide technical assistance to the states in support of their procurements and efforts to secure federal funding for transmission investments.

Evaluation metrics include cost-saving regional benefits, project costs, urgency of need, environmental impact, siting, and other factors. Since larger transmission projects can help transfer power from larger renewable resources in rural areas to more densely populated areas, these projects may offset the need for new generating resources in urban and suburban locations. Methods to measure such benefits are included in the evaluation process.

Many elements of LTTP Phase 2 are aligned with FERC’s recent Order 1920, which also addresses future regional transmission planning. The ISO expects to begin discussions on this order later in 2024, and will continue to work with states and other stakeholders to ensure the region’s transmission system maintains its current high standard of reliability.

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