As a result of New England’s grid operator procuring enough resources to ensure sufficient capacity through May 2021 at low prices, questions are arising about the wisdom of proposals to build new natural gas plants. In its annual capacity auction, ISO-New England’s easily sourced electricity at a system-wide clearing price of $5.30 per kilowatt-month, 25 percent below the last auction price. The lower prices and ample reserves have led to questions about whether the region needs new generation at all. The Conservation Law Foundation said, for example, that the auction results show that Invenergy’s plan to build a 900-megawatt natural gas plant in Rhode Island is unnecessary. The grid operator needed to procure about 34,000 MW and wound up with more than 35,800 MW. No new large resources cleared the auction, but 640 MW of new energy-efficiency and demand response did.
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