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Utility Dive (Opinion): How New England could demonstrate what a 'clean energy RTO' looks like

Posted by Caitlin Marquis on Oct 25, 2021

Utility Dive published Caitlin Marquis' op-ed on how ISO-New England could lead the country in creating the first "clean energy RTO." Read snippets below and the full article here.

New England faces an unprecedented set of questions about its energy future: What measures should states prioritize as they work to achieve ambitious clean energy targets set in legislation? How can distributed energy resources (DERs) be leveraged as part of the solution? What tools can a region with cold winters use to reliably transition to a fully decarbonized economy? 

Organized, competitive wholesale markets have the potential to make the answers to these questions more cost-effective, reliable and flexible, just as Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO)/Independent System Operators (ISO) have managed the regional grid reliably and cost-effectively over the past 25-plus years...

There is no complete model for how to best integrate multi-technology aggregations of distributed energy resources; the first comprehensive attempt in California has gone unused due to design flaws, and the second in New York is still largely untested and fails to capture critical resources like residential solar-plus-storage. Accrediting the capacity contribution of all resources on an accurate basis is also still a work in progress, as regions that have taken on the issue have — unfairly — done so only for renewable and storage resources. 

In short, New England is on the cutting edge of a series of issues from market design, to transmission planning, to accommodating state clean energy and economy-wide decarbonization policies, which could make it a leader in the nation. That should give ISO-NE and the region's regulators and stakeholders the requisite energy and motivation to forge partnerships and find compromise in the long debates and extra meetings that lie ahead. On the other side of that push is the potential not only for New England to leverage the benefits of competitive wholesale markets to decarbonize faster, more reliably, and more affordably, and as a tool to accelerate state and local objectives, but to prove to the rest of the country that it can be done – and that it's worth the effort.

Read the full article here.

Topics: AEE In The News