EIPC study shows Northeast on a ‘sustainable’ path – National Grid exec

Renewable portfolio standards in the Northeast are among the reasons for why the region is on a sustainable path, Mary Ellen Paravalos, director of strategy and business performance with National Grid USA, told TransmissionHub Dec. 21, in light of the recently completed study by the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative stakeholder steering committee.

Paravalos discussed the release of the first phase of EIPC’s effort, which is a 2.5-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to look at the Eastern Interconnection transmission system and potential or alternative transmission needs for a long-range future.

The EIPC stakeholder steering committee narrowed eight possible “futures,” or possible scenarios, down to three, one of which involved a national renewable portfolio standard (RPS). This future requires that 30% of the nation’s electricity be met by renewable resources by 2030, to be achieved by using a regional implementation strategy.

“Now that we look at the results, we can see that because of the Northeast’s relatively low-carbon resource fleet, our extensive potential renewable resources and our already progressive regional policies, such as our state RPS programs, that it actually shows the Northeast region is on a very good sustainable path under a variety of the scenarios that were studied,” she said.

According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, or DSIRE, among other states in the region, Rhode Island has an RPS of 16% by 2020, while Connecticut has an RPS of 27% by 2020.

Paravalos said, “One of the things that strikes us from a Northeast perspective is that the study is supporting our belief that the Northeast region does not require Midwest wind resources.”

The report shows that if and when Midwest wind resources are built, those resources are used mostly within the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator or the neighboring PJM Interconnection region to replace relatively high-carbon generation in those regions, but not to serve needs in the Northeast under the eight futures that were studied, she said.

The other two futures chosen by the committee were “business as usual” and a combined federal climate and energy policy.

“The other thing that is interesting … is that transmission investments in the Northeast are still going to be needed because the new generation resources in the Northeast to [supply] future needs will still require transmission investments within the Northeast to continue to provide reliable electricity service to customers over the long-term and to connect new renewable resources as well,” Paravalos said. 

National Grid, which is a subsidiary of National Grid plc and operates in New England and New York, was one of the stakeholders that participated in EIPC’s effort.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3152 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.