Renewables replacing renewables
(Posted March 24, 2008)
The lack of regional system planning coupled with the haphazard political approach to incentivizing renewables in New England may adversely impact the business of two renewable generation plants in the State of Maine.
Windaction.org has learned that UPC Wind's Stetson Mountain project, a 57MW wind energy facility now under construction, is scheduled to feed into a congested transmission line ("Line 64") that services two other generators: a) Brookfield Power's 126MW hydroelectric system and b) Indeck's 25MW biomass power plant, both baseload renewable facilities. The constraints of Line 64 will force energy output from Brookfield and/or Indeck to be significantly curtailed with a possible 0 MW net gain in renewable generation for the region. Put another way, Stetson Wind, an intermittent unpredictable renewable, will displace existing reliable baseload renewables.
According to the 2007 Interconnection System Impact Study conducted for the ISO New England, the UPC proposal will have "no significant system impact to the stability, reliability, and operating characteristics" of the New England transmission system and that no network upgrades are needed except at the Project's interconnection point.
The consequences of the Line 64 congestion may prove even more dire. If the Brookfield or Indeck merchant plants become financially unviable operating at the reduced output (see Section 5.1.2 of the study), they may be forced to shut down thus undermining regional energy goals and result in a significant net loss of jobs.