ISO New England (ISO-NE), in a recent “ISO Newswire” post, said that the June update to the Regional System Plan (RSP) Project List, which details Pool Transmission Facility (PTF) projects needed to ensure reliability in New England, notes that since the March update, two upgrades were placed in service, and no new projects were added.
ISO-NE noted that since 2002, a cumulative total of 813 project components, representing an investment of $11.1bn, have been placed into service to help ensure the continued reliability of New England’s transmission system.
Improving the movement of electricity across the region and into areas of limited transmission and high demand allows more competition among generators; reduces congestion charges in the energy market; reduces the need for expensive generator reliability agreements; reduces out-of-market generator dispatch payments; and allows older, more expensive generators to retire, ISO-NE said.
As of June, the update presentation lists 57 active projects across the six New England states, including 25 projects under construction; 27 planned projects; and one proposed project, ISO-NE said. The estimated cost of active future projects through 2023 is under $1.5bn, ISO-NE noted.
According to the update presentation, the two upgrades that have been placed in service since the March update are the $32.3m “Local System Plan County Road Substation” project (Project ID #1514) in Maine, needed to increase load serving capability, and the $2.5m Project ID #1594 in Connecticut, which involved reconductoring the 115-kV line between Newington and Newington Tap (1783) and is needed to resolve thermal overloads.
The update presentation also noted that major cost estimate changes that occurred between the March and June project list are:
- A cost increase of $24m for four projects in Massachusetts due to scope clarification, as well as increased material and labor cost estimates (Southeast Massachusetts/Rhode Island Reliability Project (SEMA/RI))
- A net cost reduction of $19.2m for the Central/Western MA Reinforcements effort in Massachusetts, involving a cost reduction of $19.6m for the cancellation of four projects, and a cost increase of $0.4m for one project to reflect final project costs
- A cost increase of $14.2m for three projects in Connecticut due to delayed Amtrak approval, rock found along the underground portion, construction bids higher than anticipated costs, and cost of unanticipated wetlands matting (Greater Hartford & Central Connecticut Project (GHCC))
As noted in the ISO Newswire post, the RSP Project List is published three times a year, with the next one due in October.
Monthly wholesale electricity prices, demand
In a separate recent ISO Newswire post, ISO-NE said that wholesale power prices averaged $16.48 per kWh in the Day-Ahead Energy Market in May, down 32% compared to the previous year.
ISO-NE said that in general, the two main drivers of wholesale electricity prices in the region are the cost of fuel used to produce electricity and consumer demand. The average price in May of natural gas — which is the predominant fuel in New England — was $1.38 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), ISO-NE said. Energy usage during May declined 6.1% to 8,212 GWh from the 8,479 GWh used in May 2019, ISO-NE said, adding that consumer demand for electricity for May peaked on May 29 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., when the temperature in New England was 77˚F, with demand reaching 16,555 MW.
Among other things, ISO-NE said that in May, natural gas-fired and nuclear generation produced about 69% of the 6,201 GWh of electric energy generated within New England, at about 42% and 27%, respectively. ISO-NE also noted that renewable resources generated about 17% of the energy produced within the region, including 7.1% from wood, refuse, and landfill gas; 5.4% from wind; and 3.7% from solar resources. Hydroelectric resources generated 14%, ISO-NE said, adding that the region also received net imports of about 1,833 GWh of electricity from neighboring regions.