Wired In

Twentieth Century Solutions for a Twenty-first Century Energy Future

By Cynthia A. Arcate 30 March, 2016
Much angst has been expressed by the Baker Administration, legislators and others about the need to replace so-called “base load” electricity generation as a result of the shutdown of several aging power plants in Massachusetts, most notably the Pilgrim nuclear plant. The concept of base load generation is that there is an underlying need for a significant amount of electricity on a steady basis all the time – 24/7 – and that only certain kinds of generation can fit that

The Competitive Electricity Market Works to Meet Reliability Needs of the Region

By Cynthia A. Arcate 26 February, 2016
In early February, ISO-NE conducted the annual auction for electricity capacity to serve the region. Under this competitive regime, ISO-NE seeks commitments from generators and other sources of supply, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and demand response, for a three-year period in the future, in this case, 2019-2020. The auction was successful in two significant ways; first, supply was procured for all zones or areas of the region with no deficiencies. In other words, there was more than enough interest

Applying Nuclear Lessons Learned in Today’s Pipeline Debate

By Cynthia A. Arcate 28 January, 2016
New England is at a crossroad in its energy planning decision-making. The last time the region faced such critical decisions about investment in infrastructure sure to affect issues of reliability, costs and the environment was the 1980s over the future of nuclear power. In moving away from conventional fossil-fueled generation, there are many questions and crucial facts to be considered besides costs. Chief among them is timing and the ability to operationally integrate such resources into the grid. This will

Saddling Electricity Customers with Long-term Gas Pipeline Contracts is Not a Solution

By Cynthia A. Arcate 3 November, 2015
Every now and then, those of us who stick our necks out to support policy solutions have to admit that what initially sounded like a good idea turned out to be the wrong path. This is one of those times. When the Baker administration first proposed having electric distribution companies (EDCs) enter into long term contracts for natural gas capacity to fill the gap where gas distribution companies cannot commit and electricity generators will not, it seemed like a good