Making windpower real in New England

CLF is a proud founding member of Renewable Energy New England (RENEW) – a group that brings together renewable energy developers and technology companies with environmental advocates.

In a major milestone in the life of RENEW (a relatively new organization) ISO New England (ISO-NE), the operator of the region’s “bulk” power system and wholesale electricity markets, has elected to perform a regional economic study requested by RENEW.

The RENEW economic study will evaluate how much of the approximately 4,000 megawatts of wind energy projects that have applied to connect to the New England system (the technical phrase is, “in the interconnection queue”) could be developed over the next five years without significant transmission upgrades (that is, building new power lines or supporting hardware) and what the economic impact of making those upgrades would be in order to develop the remaining wind power projects.

ISO-NE performs annual economic studies drawing from requests submitted by stakeholders.  In recent years ISO-NE has undertaken studies at the request of the Governors of the New England states that looked at long-term scenarios for building wind energy resources and transmission for supporting such resources. In the past two years ISO-NE has studied high penetration renewable resource scenarios for the year 2030 in the course of doing a New England Wind Integration Study (NEWIS). RENEW hopes the 2011 study will inform development and transmission upgrade decisions over the next few years as the states work to meet their renewable portfolio standard requirements, address the climate imperative to reduce emissions from the power sector and work to build a new clean economy.

More information on NEWIS and the economy study can be found at the ISO-NE section on the RENEW website.

Special mention and recognition is due to Abigail Krich, the President of Boreas Renewables, transmission consultant to RENEW who was the primary representative of RENEW in the NEWIS process and in the development of the economic study request (and whose material I have shamelessly borrowed from in crafting this blog post).

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