Regional Energy Reform

Background

ENE is participating in working groups and conducting research to help the region assess options as energy planning processes unfold in the Northeast. As members of an official working group in the FCM process, ENE…
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Regional Energy Reform

ENE is working to provide the research and recommendations to guide the region toward decisions that further the Northeast’s environmental and economic goals and promote lower cost, clean technologies.
 

ENE FERC Complaint: Transmission Rates

ENE, NCLC et al Complaint to FERC Final

ENE, NCLC et al Complaint to FERC Summary

 

Current rules established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – the federal agency that regulates electric transmission investment and rates of return – provide transmission companies large rates of return, higher than from other investments, to build transmission lines in the New England region.  FERC’s currently-allowed 13% rate of return on certain transmission investment and cost overruns, plus other incentives, creates a clear economic incentive to build transmission lines.  On the other hand, lower cost NTAs provide lower profit for the utility, even if they address the same needs as transmission lines.  ENE seeks to change transmission project incentives to be more in line with current markets and distribution investments.  To further this goal, ENE joined a complaint with NCLC seeking to reduce the base return on equity that New England utilities receive for new investment in transmission lines.

 

Grid Planning and Non-transmission Alternatives


Non-transmission alternatives (NTAs) present opportunities to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective energy delivery. But the current planning and procurement process and rules essentially prevent NTAs from being considered as solutions. ENE is working to explore and advance ways that NTAs can be better included in the planning process.

 

This summary outlines the basics of what NTAs are, the opportunities to include them in energy planning, and the benefits of doing so.

 

ENE’s whitepaper Escalating Transmission Costs and the Need for Policy Reforms includes more detail on examples of non-transmission alternatives (NTAs); barriers to NTA development; recommendations for overcoming those barriers; and case studies.

 

State-based Policy Action on Energy Planning


State and regional initiatives are helping to drive new ways to assess, plan for and supply the Northeast’s energy needs.

  • Rhode Island System Reliability: RI's Energy Efficiency Resources Management Council has proposed revisions to the state’s official System Reliability Procurement Standards with the intent of providing clear guidelines to plan for both traditional and non-wires alternatives solutions to planning and reliability issues. For more information, see RI System Reliability Planning and Procurement
  • Maine Transmission Reliability and Planning: Pursuant to a 2010 settlement stipulation approved by the Maine Public Utility Commission in the Maine Power Reliability Project proceeding involving Central Maine Power, (Maine Power Reliability Program), ENE proposed and is part of a process with other settling parties to advance changes in ISO-NE planning and cost allocation rules, with the goal of leveling the playing field for non-transmission alternatives.
  • Forward Capacity Market: The ISO-New England Forward Capacity Market (FCM) uses a competitive auction process to ensure New England will have sufficient capacity to meet demand three years in advance. The FCM rule-making process provided an opportunity to include new provisions that would allow demand resources—such as energy efficiency and distributed generation—to qualify for payments that historically have gone only to power generators. ENE and others advocated for this change, and demand side resources can now compete with supply in the FCM auction. For background see: FCM and the Role of Energy Efficiency 

Renewable Power Generation and Development


Northeast states and provinces are increasingly looking to expand their use of renewable and other clean energy to help control costs, reduce GHG emissions and secure supply. Renewable portfolio standards (RPS’s) and other policies are driving development of new generation facilities and methods, and new infrastructure for delivering power to customers.
 

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