ISO-NE Decision Will Hold Back Clean Energy Throughout the Region
Boston, MA. — If approved by its regulator, a decision made Thursday by New England’s power grid operator, ISO-NE, along with a majority of its stakeholders, will slow New England’s ability to meet state climate goals, exacerbate the climate pollution impacting our communities and our economy, and cost consumers extra money they can ill afford.
Yesterday afternoon, ISO-NE and a majority of its stakeholders, which are mostly energy companies, decided to push back by two more years the elimination of a major barrier to clean energy in the region. The Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR), which pays gas power plant generators extra on the ratepayer’s dime to stay in the market, was on its way out. But now ISO-NE is delaying implementation of an improved approach and keeping clean energy from competing fairly in the regional capacity market for two additional years.
According to Melissa Birchard, Senior Regulatory Attorney and Director for Power Grid Reform at Acadia Center, after originally proposing in May of 2021 to eliminate the harmful MOPR rule in 2023, ISO-NE changed its position at the 11th hour. “ISO-NE has let the region down by choosing to cut clean energy out of the capacity market for two more years. This decision throws an unnecessary lifeline to gas generators that could otherwise be priced out of the market by cost-effective clean energy,” says Birchard. “Despite pushing for quicker market reforms in the recent New England Governors Energy Vision Statement process, the states appeared to back the delay. This is a disappointing failure of leadership,” said Birchard.
The New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), which represents the states, recently announced they did not oppose the two-year delay. This position appeared to sway many previously opposed parties, contributing to majority support for the delay. Acadia Center and its partners, as well as renewable energy companies and a number of other stakeholders, strongly opposed the delay, which would keep in place barriers to clean energy participation in the ISO-NE capacity market until the 2025 auction, which commits resources for the period beginning in 2028.
“This outcome comes at a cost for New England’s climate goals and damages the communities that will suffer higher bills and more pollution in their neighborhoods,” said Acadia Center’s Birchard. “The region has waited too long already for these overdue market reforms.”
Acadia Center calls on the New England states to stand behind important climate and clean energy reforms and demand that ISO-NE increase its accountability to consumers and communities, to avoid these failures in the future.
Clean Energy Program Director
Acadia Center is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization committed to advancing the clean energy future. Acadia Center advocates for an equitable clean energy future for Connecticut, tackling regulatory and legislative energy policy, transportation, energy efficiency, beneficial electrification, utility innovation, and renewable energy.