ISO New England Inc., the operator of the New England power system and wholesale electricity markets, has issued its 2017 Regional System Plan (RSP17) — the biennial report that provides the foundation for long-term power-system planning in New England.
RSP17 was recently approved by the ISO New England board of directors. The comprehensive report details power system needs for the next 10 years, through 2026, and how these needs can be addressed. RSP17 discusses:
- Forecasts of annual energy use and peak demand from 2017 to 2026
- Strategic issues facing the region, including the integration of variable energy resources, such as wind generation and solar photovoltaic installations
- The need for resources, including generators and demand-side resources, to meet consumer demand for power and replace retiring power plants
- How the region’s power system can continue to address reliability concerns by identifying areas of the grid where resource additions or transmission upgrades are needed
- Coordination of New England’s planning process with those of neighboring regions
“New England’s energy system is in the midst of a major evolution toward a cleaner, hybrid grid, which will include renewable technologies such as wind and solar, and conservation measures such as energy-efficiency, as well as traditional resources, such as natural-gas-fired generation,” said Gordon van Welie, President and CEO of ISO New England Inc. “ISO New England looks forward to working with stakeholders to address the changing state of the system and plans for addressing future issues as the system continues to evolve.”
Long-term load forecast: With growing levels of PV and energy-efficiency resources, the 10-year forecast of demand shows total annual use of electric energy declining by 0.6% per year, with the summer peak declining 0.1% annually by 2026 under normal weather conditions. Without PV and EE, the baseline forecast shows that annual energy consumption would grow by 0.9% annually, and peak demand would grow by 1.0%.
Wind: New England currently has 1,300 MW of installed wind facilities, and about 5,400 MW more have been proposed as of April 2017. Most of the wind projects constructed or under consideration are in remote areas of the region where the wind conditions are good, but where the transmission network was built to serve low levels of area load and is currently at its performance limit.
These conditions have led to a backlog of projects in northern and western Maine, given the need for wind developers to build costly transmission upgrades to connect their projects to the regional grid. The ISO has developed and filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a set of revisions to the interconnection procedures aimed at resolving this backlog by allowing project developers to share the costs of upgrades. Further, as the amount of wind generation grows, operational forecasts and dispatch control of this variable energy resource take on increasing importance.
Solar: PV resources totaled 1,918 MW nameplate capacity (referring to the total amount a resource could produce running at 100% of its capability) by the end of 2016. ISO New England’s multi-state forecast of PV growth projects that by the end of 2026, PV will grow to 4,733 MW in nameplate capacity and produce about 6,200 gigawatt-hours of energy that year.
PV resources are estimated to reduce summer peak loads by 575 MW in 2017, with that number climbing to 1,035 MW in 2026. The growth of behind-the-meter resources, which the ISO cannot observe or dispatch in real-time, continues to add complexity to system operations.
Battery storage & advanced technologies: Energy-storage technology is developing rapidly, with increasing levels of participation in the wholesale markets expected over the next decade as the technology’s costs decline. The region’s first grid-scale battery system, a 16 MW facility at Yarmouth Station in Maine, was placed on line in 2016. The ISO continues identifying and addressing other issues to prepare for the large-scale development of energy-storage and other advanced technologies.
Transmission upgrades: From 2002 through June 2017, 730 transmission projects to address reliability needs were put into service in the six New England states. These projects represent an $8.4 billion investment in new infrastructure that improves system reliability and reduces costly congestion on the high-voltage transmission system.
Read the full report here.
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