Library from Connecticut
FERC approved ISO-NE’s two-stage capacity auction to accommodate state renewable energy procurements, with Commissioner Robert Powelson dissenting and Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick leveling new criticism on the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) (ER18-619).
New England’s power grid is in good shape now and home solar and energy efficiency efforts mean the region’s annual demand for electricity is projected to decline, according to the grid’s operators. But there are also problems ahead.
Of all generation projects with approved contracts, a dozen -- all of them solar -- would be located in Connecticut. The largest is the 49-megawatt Quinebaug Solar Project straddling the Brooklyn-Canterbury border, developed by NextEra Energy Resources.
Connecticut has a love-hate relationship with wind power. Okay, so far it’s mostly hate.
In 2015, neighbors living within 3,800 feet of an industrial wind project on Vermont's Georgia Mountain filed a motion for relief. They reported sleep disturbance and other health impacts caused by the operations of the 440-foot-tall turbines. Vermont's Department of Public Service found the neighbors' complaints to be credible and serious, and concluded that turbine operations could be "indicative of a significant impairment of the quality of life for some nearby residents."
A federal appeals court in New York on Wednesday temporarily halted an effort by Connecticut to sign contracts for renewable electricity after a solar power developer complained that the process the state used to solicit renewables breached federal law. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of challenges to state efforts supporting certain types of electricity generation.
The projects have a nameplate capacity of 461.2 megawatts, but they will produce less power than that because the facilities typically operate at less than 35 percent of capacity. Approximately 306.4 megawatts come from solar projects and 154.8 megawatts from wind.
Ambitious plans to build wind farms in northern and western Maine representing billions of dollars of investment were dealt a blow on Tuesday, after a coalition of utilities and state agencies in southern New England failed to select any Maine-based wind or transmission projects to meet the region’s clean-energy goals.
Officials recently announced they needed more time for the evaluation process "given the complexity of the analysis and the volume of bids." Regulatory approvals of the selected projects are expected later this year.
“While you may need transmission upgrades from time to time, that doesn’t mean that you should give the utilities a blank check on the scope of the construction costs,” Dornbos said. Blumenthal said Hartford-based Eversource Energy has been a significant beneficiary of the escalation of transmission costs.
Backers of gas generation countered that renewables are benefiting from government-backed subsidies and long-term contracts that threaten to reintroduce government-mandated integrated resource planning. ...state policies are giving renewables undue advantage and undermining conventional generators’ investments in the market.
Connecticut may soon source more of its clean energy from within its own borders, if newly proposed projects are successful in a unique and ongoing multi-state bidding process. A joint procurement by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island — the first of its kind for the states — garnered 24 bids from developers and companies for solar, wind, fuel cell and hydro projects, including five offering power that would be generated in Connecticut.
Dozens of submissions will need to be vetted in coming months as the three states look to sign long-term contracts for electricity from wind turbines, dams and solar projects. The states are seeking up to 600 megawatts of power.
Now that two of these state-approved wind turbines are up and spinning in Colebrook, the local residents are showing the same ill health impacts cited in my group’s exhaustive research-based presentation to the state Siting Council. Headaches, sleep deprivation, increased blood pressure to name a few are the symptoms being felt by a doctor’s wife on their Flag Hill Road home in Colebrook. As reported in the Dec. 13 Sunday Republican, the couple lives 1,500 feet from the turbines.
Lawrence said he was unaware a wind farm was planned when he bought his land in 2009. When he learned of it potentially happening, he began to do research. He consulted the work of scientists such as E.L. Petersen, whose survey of populations living near wind turbines in the Netherlands has formed the basis for what is known today. Petersen and his colleagues concluded that wind turbine noise — especially low-frequency levels — affects people at much farther distances than generally anticipated, both inside and outside buildings.
Meanwhile, Dr. David Lawrence, whose house on Flagg Hill Road in Colebrook stands about 1,500 feet from the nearest turbine, describes living under a state of siege. When the turbines started operating in earnest on October 17, his wife Jeanie developed insomnia, headaches and unsteadiness on her feet. The couple moved their master bed from the second floor into the basement, which is shielded by an earth embankment. “We’ve hardly been back up there since,” says Lawrence.
Connecticut utility regulators have given tentative approval to the $3 billion acquisition of New Haven-based UIL Holdings Corp. by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola. The state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued its 45-page ruling Tuesday with numerous conditions that Iberdola must meet as a requirement for approval. A final decision on the merger by PURA is scheduled for Dec. 9.
Companies designing projects to bring clean electricity to southern New England say they’re grateful Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have finally made a request for proposals to carry that power to the region. But meeting the region’s longer-term goal of expanding the use of renewable electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectricity will require more transmission capacity than the states requested, said Edward Krapels, the CEO of Anbaric Transmission, which is proposing one project in Maine and another Vermont.
Washington -- Aggressive energy efficiency efforts and new distributed generation capacity -- virtually all of it in the form of solar projects -- are combining to put a lid on growth in peak demand and electric use in New England, ISO New England said in its newly released 2015 Regional System Plan.
"We have five instances of international fraud and corruption," House said at the hearing, according to a transcript. "This authority would be derelict in its duties if it did not look into your past and assume it was possible that your future might resemble what you've done in the past." Before the hearing, Iberdrola answered questions from PURA about the fraud and corruption cases.