Scott, NE governors call for modernization of regional electricity system

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Scott, NE governors call for modernization of regional electricity system

Wed, 10/14/2020 - 4:38pm -- tim

Five Northeast Governors Seek Reform of Market Design, Transmission Planning, and Governance Needed to Achieve States’ Mandates for Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Power

Vermont Business Magazine Recognizing the critical role that New England’s regional wholesale electricity market plays in addressing climate change and cost-effectively reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions, Vermont Governor Phil Scott and governors from four Northeast states today issued a statement (see below) calling for reforms needed to achieve their states’ respective goals for clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.  

“I’ve long said our work to address climate change can and must also work to make energy more affordable for Vermonters, so I’m pleased to be a part of this regional approach to achieving both of these priorities,” said Governor Scott. “With a strategic, multi-state approach we can have a greater impact on both climate change mitigation and energy affordability.”

Scott said at his Friday press briefing that he wants to ensure the grid is capable of handling a higher electric load as transportation becomes more electrified, especially with e-cars, and electric heat becomes more common.

The statement, signed by Governor Scott, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo calls for reform of the regional electricity market design, transmission planning process, and the governance of the ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power system.

Matt Kakley, Communications Specialist for ISO New England, sent this statement to VBM Wednesday evening: "We have received the governors’ statement, and look forward to engaging with the states and our stakeholders on these issues. ISO New England, the New England states, and market participants have a long history of working together to tackle the challenges facing the power system, and we expect that to continue. Maintaining reliable, competitively-priced electricity through the clean energy transition will require broad collaboration, and the common vision of the New England governors will play an important role in the discussions currently underway on the future of the grid. We appreciate the New England Governors sharing their regional vision to achieve a shared clean energy future and reaching out to ISO New England to help them achieve their goals."

A Vision document outlining specific areas for reform will be released later this week through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), a non-profit entity that represents the collective perspective of the New England states in regional electricity matters.

“When Connecticut deregulated our electricity sector, we were promised competition, lower risk for ratepayers, more affordable electricity, and a system that respects and accommodates our clean energy mandates,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “What we got is a system that has actively hindered our efforts to decarbonize the grid, and imposed burdensome costs on Connecticut ratepayers to fix market design failures. Working together with our neighboring states, I’m committed to achieving a regional electricity grid that provides the affordable, clean, and reliable electricity that Connecticut families and businesses deserve.”

“It is far past time that New England reforms how its electric grid is managed,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. “The wholesale electricity markets must advance and support clean energy laws and policies, as the states demand decarbonization and markets and consumers support more renewables. ISO-New England must keep pace with state priorities and it must be more transparent and accountable in its decision making, broadening its focus to include consumer and environment concerns as well as reliability and cost.”

“To meet to our Administration’s goal of net zero emissions in Massachusetts by 2050, the Commonwealth needs a regional electricity system that can support the delivery of clean, affordable, and reliable energy to residents and businesses,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “My administration looks forward to working with our partner states, ISO-New England and stakeholders to build a more transparent, modern and cost-effective power system that will allow New England states to meet our ambitious climate change and clean energy goals while creating a better future for our residents.”

“Here in Rhode Island, we're committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing our future. I’m proud that we're on track to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “In order to meet our shared clean energy goals and aggressively combat climate change, it’s clear we need to take a regional approach.”  

In the coming months, the states will convene open and accessible forums to ensure that all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in further refinement of the principles of the shared Vision.

Source: Montpelier, Vt. – Governor 10.14.2020