Sunday, November 27, 2022

There’s low-cost power available, however not for New England

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Elected officers in Massachusetts have enacted insurance policies which have resulted in tens of billions of taxpayer and utility buyer {dollars} being spent on packages like rooftop photo voltaic that profit the few — typically, the rich — whereas blocking the one factor that would swiftly decrease costs and emissions, and readily put together the grid for extra wind and solar energy.

Rules that scale back power choices add to our base electrical energy charges, which hit low and stuck revenue residents hardest. Massachusetts has the fourth-highest residential electrical energy charges within the nation at 25.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, behind Hawaii, California and Connecticut. States just a few hundred miles away pay 4 to 5 occasions much less for pure gasoline than New England within the winter, and Mass. residents needs to be asking why.

But we have now attention-seeking activists laying down in visitors protesting new pipeline infrastructure. They fail to grasp the fundamentals of provide and demand.

There’s an inexpensive pure gasoline provide shut by in Pennsylvania, however it will probably’t get right here because of efforts like theirs and New York’s pipeline ban, which geographically cuts off New England from lower-priced power.

Activists don’t care that new pure gasoline pipelines like Entry Northeast and Northeast Power Direct would have saved hard-working households billions of {dollars} yearly and enhanced the electrical grid’s reliability. They’d have reduce CO2 emissions, too.

How? As a result of on the chilly days we get too typically in New England, higher-emitting energy crops should run to maintain the lights on. The regional grid operator, ISO-New England, has repeatedly reported emissions will increase in colder months when coal is used to generate electrical energy, as an alternative of pure gasoline.

These dogmatic opponents are elevating the prices of your power payments — and risking reliability. The Federal Power Regulatory Fee wrote earlier this yr: “As a consequence of constrained pipeline capability into New England, segments of the area’s pipelines typically attain their most capability in winter.” Meaning insufficient provide, larger costs and expensive LNG imports.

The North American Electrical Reliability Company, chargeable for protecting the electrical energy grid dependable, has been clear that pure gasoline technology is crucial to maintain the facility on, whereas we convey extra renewable power onto the grid. There will probably be future advantages when renewable pure gasoline, hydrogen and carbon seize applied sciences mature.

That turns into much more essential as Massachusetts electrifies extra of transportation and heating, which is able to improve demand past the present ranges we are able to barely meet.

There’s a direct connection between the power insurance policies our leaders and regulators create, and the value we pay. For instance, Nationwide Grid not too long ago introduced its Massachusetts residential electrical energy charge will improve to almost 34 cents a kilowatt-hour beginning Nov. 1. It is very important perceive that Nationwide Grid doesn’t make any cash from default power service — they’re passing alongside the market prices and state insurance policies.

I not too long ago had the pleasure of taking part on a panel earlier than FERC to debate the difficulty of winter gas-electric reliability in New England. Panelists from ISO-New England and the Northeast Energy Coordinating Council warned in regards to the vulnerability of New England’s grid, which has narrowly — and miraculously — prevented rolling blackouts.

We hope that Massachusetts’ elected officers, regulators and different stakeholders will resist scapegoating utilities, the pure gasoline business or the grid operator for the state’s present plight and as an alternative mirror on coverage decisions that created new, onerous power prices that have an effect on all residents.

They need to heed the recommendation of specialists who’ve repeatedly warned that the area is one unhealthy storm away from grid failure, not attention-seeking antics.


Marc Brown is the New England Government Director for Shopper Power Alliance.



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