New England will have more than enough electricity in three years, but it could get pricey

Solar panels are installed at Spring Ledge Farm in New London as part of a transition to renewable energy, including wood heat.

Solar panels are installed at Spring Ledge Farm in New London as part of a transition to renewable energy, including wood heat. Courtesy

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 02-12-2024 10:46 AM

ISO-New England, the folks who run the six-state power grid, have announced results for the latest capacity auction, which pays power plants a fixed amount regardless of their output, a system designed to make sure there will be enough electricity available three years from now.

As is always the case, the auction found there will be more than enough electricity in 2027-2028. A total of 31,500 megawatts cleared the auction, meaning they were the cheapest bids that met various issues. The total is several thousand over all-time maximum demand. Several points of interest:

■Winning bids were $3.58 per kilowatt-month, which is about 40% higher than the winning bid ($2.55) in last year's capacity auction. Power plants expect costs to keep rising, it seems.

■New and existing solar and wind generation, energy storage, and demand resources won in the auction, totaling about 5,540 MW or about 18% of all capacity.

■New solar generation and energy storage resources or facilities combining the two secured obligations totaling about 795 MW. This accounted for the majority of new generating resources, which also included about 185 MW of new wind resources.

Details about which power plants won in the auction will be released in a couple of weeks.

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