New England region has potential to develop renewables

Originally published at Renewable Energy

At the request of New England’s six governors, ISO New England Inc. released the results of a study designed to evaluate renewable energy resource potential in the region, as well as the economic and environmental impacts of that development.

The study was also designed to identify the conceptual transmission development that could be required and estimated the costs to support interconnection of the resources envisioned in each scenario. In addition, the study looked at the impact of each scenario on wholesale electricity prices.

The objective of this study was to evaluate a hypothetical future power system under a number of scenarios. The study focused primarily on wind development, but also considered other resources such as demand resources, plug-in electric vehicles, expanded imports, and energy storage.

ISO New England’s analysis concluded that significant amounts of potential wind resources could be added to New England’s system provided appropriate transmission expansion is in place, with offshore wind resource integration offering the most cost-effective use of new and existing transmission.

The study considered and tested a wide range of additional wind resource integration scenarios, from 2,000 to 12,000 megawatts. A separate, ongoing ISO New England wind integration study is looking at operational issues surrounding large integration levels.

For all of the scenarios considered, new transmission investment would be required to move energy from renewable resources to consumers throughout New England.

Annual wholesale electric energy prices would be generally lower with the addition of renewable resources that have low or no fuel costs, such as wind, or when overall electricity use is reduced, as is the case when high levels of demand resources are added to the system.

“We have an abundance of native renewable resource potential in New England. Before the states now are the questions as to how much regional renewable development should be pursued and at what cost,” said van Welie. “Tapping into these available resources can create potential benefits but would require new transmission to move power from where it is produced to where it is consumed. The concepts outlined in this study provide New England with an improved ability to compare and contrast the options before it, both within the region and beyond our borders.”

The analysis was used as a basis for the initial draft of the New England Governors’ Renewable Energy Blueprint, prepared by the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE).

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