ISO-NE: ‘Phase One Proposal’ submissions related to Boston-area transmission RFP due March 4

Brent Oberlin, director of Transmission Planning, said in a recent ISO-NE post that following Exelon Generation Company, LLC’s initial request to retire the Mystic plant, which is located just outside of Boston, in June 2022, ISO-NE began studying whether the closure of the station would cause any transmission needs in the Boston area through 2028

ISO New England (ISO-NE) said recently that it has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to address transmission needs in the Boston area caused by the retirement of the Mystic Generating Station in the early 2020s.

ISO-NE also noted in its Dec. 20, 2019 “ISO Newswire” post that the RFP marks the first competitive transmission solicitation issued under the FERC order 1000 framework for transmission development.

Brent Oberlin, director of Transmission Planning, said in the post that following Exelon Generation Company, LLC’s initial request to retire the Mystic plant, which is located just outside of Boston, in June 2022, ISO-NE began studying whether the closure of the station would cause any transmission needs in the Boston area through 2028. He noted that ISO-NE retained two of the Mystic units under rules that permit retentions for fuel-security reasons, but they are scheduled to retire as early as June 1, 2023. 
The results of ISO-NE’s study showed that upgrades to the transmission system will be needed to maintain reliability in the Boston area after the Mystic retirement, Oberlin said.

As noted in the Boston 2028 RFP announcement, under the competitive process, any qualified transmission project sponsor (QTPS) may submit a Phase One Proposal(s), while NSTAR Electric and New England Power are required to submit a joint backstop transmission solution (Phase One Proposal) for consideration in response to the RFP.

The announcement also noted that ISO-NE will review all of the proposals in a two-phase process before ultimately selecting the preferred solution. The deadline for Phase One Proposal submission is at 11 p.m., on March 4, the announcement noted.

According to the RFP document, “Request for Proposal Reliability Transmission Upgrade (RTU) Part 1,” ISO-NE has a two-step RFP evaluation process, with the first step being the Phase One Proposal where QTPS respondents may submit Phase One Proposals in RFP360 for consideration; RFP360 is a web-based application that ISO-NE uses to communicate with the QTPS respondents and to collect RFP responses from the QTPS respondents.

Phase One Proposals need to be detailed enough to demonstrate that they can solve the identified needs and provide information on the project costs and logistics. The document added that Phase Two Solutions require more detailed information in order to support the analyses that will be used to differentiate all of the submitted solutions and select the preferred Phase Two Solution. Phase Two Solutions require a more detailed and rigorous effort to supplement the Phase One Proposal. The document also noted that if a Phase One Proposal meets the review criteria and is chosen, then it is eligible to move to the Phase Two Solution process.

The document noted that the RFP initially solicits only Phase One Proposal information. Once ISO-NE has determined which Phase One Proposals will be evaluated in the Phase Two Solutions process, successful QTPS Respondents may submit the requested Phase Two Solution information into RFP360 such that ISO-NE can perform a detailed evaluation of the remaining proposals.

Among other things, the document noted that the proposal identified for the RFP as the preferred Phase Two Solution will be studied and evaluated by ISO-NE in accordance with the New England Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff to ensure that it does not have a significant adverse effect upon the reliability or operating characteristics of the transmission facilities of one or more transmission owners, or the system of one or more market participants.