ISO New England outlines transmission, generation needs

ISO New England Inc., an operator of the regional power system and wholesale electricity markets, released the 2013 Regional System Plan, a report that outlines transmission upgrades and market responses, such as power generation or demand response, that can address identified power grid reliability needs.

According to a release, the annual plan was approved by the ISO New England board of directors yesterday.

The plan is the culmination of a year-long process with industry representatives and other stakeholders to analyze power system needs and solutions over a 10-year planning horizon. The plan also discusses areas of concern that the ISO and regional stakeholders have identified through the strategic planning initiative and reviews the possible effects of state and federal policies on the New England grid.

The company noted details of the progress report:

From 2002 through June 2013, 475 transmission projects to address reliability needs were put into service in all six New England states. These projects represent a $5.5 billion investment in new infrastructure.

Since 1997, nearly 14,900 MW of new generation have been constructed in New England, while about 3,360 MW of less efficient, primarily older resources, have retired. Currently, about 1,850 MW of demand resources (both demand response and energy-efficiency measures) are part of New England’s resource mix.

Additional transmission upgrades to meet reliability requirements are under construction, have been approved, or are being designed. Some of the larger projects underway include the New England East-West Solution, which comprises major transmission upgrades in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island; the Maine Power Reliability Program; and transmission system upgrades in southeastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area. About $5.7 billion in transmission investment for reliability purposes is planned for the next five years.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Order 1000 is requiring changes to the transmission planning processes in New England. ISO New England has filed an interregional planning proposal that builds on existing processes with neighboring power systems.

Regarding the regional planning requirements of Order 1000, the ISO has filed for rehearing on several aspects of the order. While that request is pending, the ISO will continue working with stakeholders to develop a plan for implementing the order’s regional requirements. The ISO is scheduled to file that plan with FERC by November 15.

The seventh Forward Capacity Market auction (FCA #7) procured adequate resources to meet demand through 2016/2017.

Energy consumption, unadjusted for energy efficiency programs, is projected to grow an average of 1.1 percent annually through 2022, while summer peak demand is expected to grow by 1.4 percent per year. Because of the increased investment in energy efficiency programs sponsored by the New England states, ISO New England developed the first multistate energy efficiency forecast methodology. When the energy-saving effects of energy efficiency are included, the forecast shows essentially no long-run growth in electric energy use and 0.9 percent annual growth in annual summer peak demand.

This initiative, launched in 2010, identified risks that could compromise the efficiency and reliability of the power grid. The predominant reliability challenges include the region’s reliance on natural gas for power generation, the potential retirements of older fossil-fuel-fired generation, and the interconnection of increasing levels of renewable resources.

Changes to operating procedures and market rules are underway to address these challenges and include the following measures:

-Day-Ahead Energy Market time shift (implemented): More closely aligns the timelines of the Day-Ahead Energy Market and natural gas trading day, giving generators more time to make fuel and transportation arrangements and giving ISO system operators more time to commit long-lead-time generators when needed

-Tightening the shortage-event trigger (implemented): The definition of a “shortage event” was modified to more accurately reflect stressed system conditions.

-Winter reliability program (approved by FERC; implementation December 1,): An interim, stopgap solution to help ensure power system reliability in the event of colder-than-normal weather during the 2013/2014 winter

-Energy market supply offer flexibility (approved by FERC; implementation December 2014): Will allow generators to change their power supply offers during the operating day to reflect changes in actual fuel prices, helping generators better adjust to short-term fuel arrangements or high, real-time fuel prices

-FCM Performance Initiatives (under stakeholder discussion; FERC filing expected in late 2013): Proposal for a more robust incentive structure that would reward resources that overperform during times of system stress by transferring payments from resources that underperform during these periods

-Operating Reserves (operational change implemented): The ISO increased the 10-minute operating-reserve requirement by 25 percent to address its concern about the performance of resources and ensure the region has adequate reserves available to recover from unplanned outages.


  • The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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