ISO New England | New Hampshire Public Radio

ISO New England

President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal seeks to help reach the administration's ambitious clean energy goals for the U.S. over the next decade.

Part of that means funding upgrades to the country's electric transmission system — the poles and wires that everyone relies on to access power nearby or from hundreds of miles away. As New England experts explain, these upgrades are essential to reach clean energy goals in the region.

No Coal No Gas / 350NH

New Hampshire’s coal-fired power plant, the last of its kind in New England not set to retire, will now remain online through at least 2025, despite calls from climate change activists for it to close. 

The news comes from a federal filing in late February by the regional grid manager, ISO-New England.

Eversource NH / Twitter

This week in Texas, millions of people lost power in rolling blackouts after a historic winter storm. But could this happen in New England? And what are the tradeoffs of being prepared to keep the lights on as climate change drives more extreme weather?

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Activists are calling on electric customers in New Hampshire and New England to stop paying their utility bills on Sept. 1, in a strike that aims to put pressure on the regional energy system to address climate change.

No Coal, No Gas campaign volunteer Jeff Gang says the goal is to have a thousand people signed up to strike ahead of time.

ISO-NE

Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant is back online after an unplanned shutdown this past weekend.

Officials with the plant and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say the incident did not pose a safety risk, and a watchdog group agrees.

The malfunction involved Seabrook’s control rods, which are used to fine-tune the fission reaction that powers the facility.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New England used more wind and solar power than ever last year, but fossil fuels still make up half the electricity generated in the region.

In new data, power grid operator ISO-New England says 49% of electricity generated in New England last year was from natural gas. Less than 1% was from coal or oil. 

Natural gas use has roughly plateaued in the region in the past few years. It peaked in 2015.

State Impact

An effort to force the region's powerful energy stakeholder group to hold public meetings has been shot down by federal regulators.

An energy trade publication, RTO Insider, had argued the New England Power Pool, or NEPOOL, is violating the Federal Power Act with its closed-door meeting policy.

New England's electric grid operators are expecting some extra demand for electricity during this weekend's Patriots Super Bowl appearance.

ISO-New England analyzed the Pats' appearance in last year's Super Bowl. It says the game appears to have caused more demand for power across the region than during Super Bowls where the Patriots weren't competing.

ISO-New England

New England’s electric grid operators are preparing for the region’s next nor’easter – whenever it arrives – with a special storm training completed earlier this month.

The control room operators at the nonprofit grid manager, ISO-New England, coordinate electric supply with demand, across all six states, around the clock.

“Visualizing it like a NASA control room … if you have that picture in your head, you’re on the right track,” says Stephen George, ISO’s general manager of operational performance and training.

NEPOOL

Energy can be tough to understand. When we flip a light switch, we know the lights should come on. But we might not know where that power came from – or why it costs what it costs.

In New England, much of those costs are controlled by a select group of stakeholders – called the New England Power Pool, or NEPOOL.

NEPOOL is now facing criticism for a lack of transparency, and for decisions that could be raising the already high cost of energy in the region.

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

New England's electric grid operator says the region should have enough fuel to get through the winter, even if the weather gets colder than expected.

But utilities and power users say they’re still worried about winter reliability long-term.

The grid operator, ISO-New England, says they learned some things from last winter's cold snap.

Demand was high and natural gas imports and pipelines were strained, so power plants turned to their coal and oil reserves.

File photo / Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New England’s power grid operator is getting pushback on a study that said some worst-case scenarios could lead to rolling blackouts in the region by 2024.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Energy leaders from around New England met in Manchester Friday to brainstorm how to keep the region’s lights on at a reasonable price long-term.

ISO-New England

New England has gotten federal approval for a first-in-the-nation type of power supply auction. It'll let new renewable energy projects take over for old fossil fuel plants on the grid.

Once a year, the nonprofit grid operator ISO-New England holds an auction for power generators who want to supply energy for the region, starting three years out. 

ISO-New England

The nonprofit that runs New England's electric grid says it will need more fuel and flexibility in the coming years to keep the lights on without prices spiking.

ISO-New England gave its annual "State of the Grid" briefing Tuesday.

CEO Gordon van Welie says New England now has more new wind capacity in the works than new natural gas capacity for the first time – and solar is also on the rise.

Michael Kappel / Flickr CC

A new report says New England could see rolling power blackouts within a matter of years without more stable fuel supplies.

ISO-New England is an independent nonprofit that manages the six-state power grid. The group studied how fuel supply and demand might play out in those states in the hypothetical winter of 2024 to 2025.

Read the report here.

Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

  After months of heated bidding against NextEra Energy Resources, Eversource Energy, formerly Northeast Utilities, has won the right to build one of the largest electric infrastructure projects in New England history.

Citing lower costs, ISO New England, the regional grid operator, selected Eversource—partnered with National Grid—to build the ‘Greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire Reliability Project.’

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Lawmakers, energy developers, and policy wonks descended on downtown Concord today for the annual New Hampshire Energy summit. The event couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, last week New Hampshire electric utilities – with the notable exception of the state’s largest, Public Service of New Hampshire – announced winter rate hikes ranging from twelve to fifty percent.

ISO-NE

The New England Independent System Operator (or ISO) has a seemingly simple job: to keep the lights on, and the power running.  But behind this goal are the many hurdles of operating the region’s electric grid. Through the peaks of summer air-conditioning and winter cold snaps, the system must remain always ready for spikes in demand.

The hydroelectric power line project known as the Northern Pass has passed a major regulatory hurdle Tuesday.


Flikr Creative Commons / Claudio Schwarz

The New England Independent System Operator, or ISO, who operates the region’s electric grid, presented the latest draft of its 10-year plan in Boston on Thursday. 

All Things Considered Host Brady Carlson speaks with NHPR's Sam Evans-Brown about the future of energy in the region. 

The ISO operates the Grid, but it doesn’t own any power plants, so how exactly are they involved with planning for the future of where we get our electricity.

Power grid operators expect electricity demand to spike to near-record highs during this week’s heat. New England’s Independent System Operator, or ISO is asking residents to reduce their consumption.

With demand expected to be only a few hundred megawatts shy of New England’s all time record on Thursday, the region’s ISO expects to bump up against max capacity. That means wholesale prices will spike as the grid calls on many coal and oil plants that increasingly spend most of the year off-line.