Spiking winter energy prices are the result of a crisis that has been a decade in the making, after New England opted to bet on natural gas.
Officials at the regional grid operator attributed the drop to good weather and the adoption of rooftop solar on homes and businesses.
Two rulings in recent weeks spell the end of the line for the proposed Killingly natural gas plant, as far as ISO-New England is concerned.
Just as those who have opposed the construction of a natural gas power plant in Killingly were tasting victory, a court has taken it away.
ISO-New England has requested permission to cut Killingly from its plans, elating environmental activists who oppose the power plant.
The governor hinted at slowing permitting and being able to “play some games there.”
It was the first salvo to reform electric market rules and ISO New England, operator of the grid.
The state’s commissioner of energy and environmental protection said Wednesday that Connecticut is being forced to invest in natural gas plants it doesn’t want or need.
The furor over a natural gas power plant in Killingly has expanded into a statewide cause célèbre over climate change. And the governor is right in the middle of it.
Connecticut, once a national leader in clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency, has slipped behind many other states, including its neighbors. Most of the finger-pointing is at the state’s budget problems and questionable choices by the legislature. But the state may have started to lose its energy edge before then. The question is, can it get it back?
Regardless of what the Connecticut legislature decides on Millstone, it won’t change some basic realities: One day the nuclear plant will close, and Connecticut doesn’t have a plan for that. The question of how to replace Millstone elicits all kinds of ideas. But parameters matter: Are we talking short-term, long-term, cleanly, at what cost to ratepayers?
The three-year update to Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, underway now, faces dramatically changed energy, environmental and political landscapes that raise questions about whether the first strategy, with its focus on natural gas, may have partially wasted the last three years.
Another winter, another warning from the folks who run the power grid that natural gas shortages could cause power problems. The warning once again focuses all eyes on natural gas pipelines – viewed as either a big answer to the region’s power difficulties or a big problem, depending on whom you talk to.
Despite record low temperatures and snow, this winter has not triggered the same electric power problems and high prices the region suffered through the last two winters.
This winter’s lesson is clear. Expanding natural gas pipeline capacity is a must to lower electricity costs in New England, as is importing large-scale hydroelectricity from Canada.