‘Simple’ or a ‘Band-Aid’? ISO-NE leans toward Eversource/National Grid $49M solution for Mystic plant replacement
ISO New England in June identified National Grid and Eversource’s “Ready Path Solution” as the most cost-effective way to address transmission reliability issues following the planned retirement of the Mystic Generating Station in 2024.
The $49 million project is inexpensive and relatively simple compared to 35 other proposals, which carried price tags up to $745 million.
The ISO is expected to issue a final decision July 17 and is accepting comments through today. At least one competing developer is unhappy with the grid operator’s initial determination: Officials at Anbaric Development Partners say the Ready Path approach is a “Band-Aid” that will not address the region’s longer-term energy needs.
A “Band-Aid” solution?
Boston will face overloads on multiple transmission lines as a result of Mystic’s retirement so the grid operator for New England issued a request for proposed solutions in December 2019. It was the ISO’s first competitive transmission solicitation under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000 framework.
Anbaric says the ISO made errors, however, and the grid operator’s decision to eliminate its own project from consideration runs contrary to Order 1000’s requirement that projects be “more efficient or cost-effective.”
“Projects that appear to be more expensive may in-fact be more economical to ratepayers when a range of factors other than up-front capital costs, and of the types identified by Order No. 1000 are considered,” Anbaric said in June 16 comments to the ISO, after its own Mystic Reliability Wind Link was eliminated from consideration. The project includes an underwater and underground transmission link into Boston that the company says would utilize existing infrastructure.
Anbaric proposed different versions of the Wind Link project, including a $449 million 900 MW AC transmission link and a $745 million 1,200 MW HVDC link. Both could push power north or south as needed, officials said, while the larger project could provide more reactive power to integrate renewables and allow other older plants to retire.