“We cannot simply accept the promise of a future with clean energy, we need a plan for clean energy today,” said US Senator Ed Markey at a press conference in Holyoke, Massachusetts, outside the headquarters of grid operator ISO-New England.

Senator Markey challenged ISO-NE for proposing to delay the elimination of a rule that “puts fossil fuel generation ahead of cleaner, cheaper alternatives.” The rule is called the minimum offer price rule, or MOPR, but it “actually stands for something else,” Markey said. “It stands for minimizing our potential for renewables, in Massachusetts and all across New England.”

Senator Markey joined with Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to send a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, asking the commission to use its existing regulatory authority to reject ISO-NE’s proposal to extend the MOPR rule.

Senator Markey said MOPR sets an “artificially high price” to participate in wholesale electricity auctions “that prevents lower cost providers” of renewables and storage from “out-competing the more expensive fossil fuel power generators.”

The Senator noted that the International Panel on Climate Change has called for peak global emissions no later than 2025, followed by rapid reductions. “Current policies put our warming trends closer to three degrees Celsius. In Fahrenheit, that’s the difference between a 95 degree day and a 101 degree day. But ISO New England says we have to go slow. The difference is this: you have to think about manageable oceans, or 11 feet of sea level rise by the end of this century.”

The letter by the three Senators says that “three New England natural gas plant operators” developed the proposal to keep the MOPR rule for another two years.

“Our energy system is not is not an old boys club and shouldn’t be run like one,” said Amy Boyd, policy director at the nonprofit Acadia Center, speaking after Senator Markey. “We need a modern approach to regional energy management that at a bare minimum gives new clean energy the same access to the capacity market that fossil fuels receive.”

The Alliance of Business Leadership’s president Jen Benson also spoke at the press conference, saying “When you lower the cost of energy, families have more dollars to put into the economy and so do businesses.”

Senator Markey appealed to state pride in his speech, saying “We’re not just the Bay State, we’re the brain state. We have to be leading on these issues, not a laggard.”  He noted that Massachusetts now gets 20% of its electricity from solar.

Read the full article in PV Magazine here