New England takes a detour on electric grid reform; pushback ensues
atie Dykes, Connecticut’s commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, earlier this month got onboard with a two-year delay for a key component of her pet project — reforming the New England electric grid.
For nearly a decade, Dykes has railed against the operator of the grid, ISO-New England, and the way it purchases power, saying it hinders the build-out of renewable energy, which comes from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power. But after building regional momentum to change that dynamic, Dykes blinked.
Instead of ending a year from now, a key rule for acquiring future power for the grid will end three years from now, with agreement from Dykes.
Not that Dykes voted for the delay. But she didn’t vote against it either. “Not opposing” was the official disposition.
“It’s a long way from not opposing to supporting,” she explained several days after the decision.
But renewable energy advocates around the region are nothing short of appalled and point fingers straight at ISO-NE, which they say changed its mind at the last minute and played an often-used trump card — that reliability of the grid would be at stake if the rule changed next year.