In a recent column, the Conservation Law Foundation presents an uninformed and misleading picture of the region’s clean energy transition and ISO New England’s role in it.

ISO New England, the New England states and the energy industry are hard at work laying the foundation for a future power system that is clean and reliable.

ISO New England is the nonprofit entity responsible for maintaining a reliable power system for New England’s 15 million residents. We do this by operating the region’s bulk power grid, administering the region’s wholesale markets and planning for the future.

We do not own or operate energy infrastructure, and we do not choose which projects are developed or where they are sited. Rather, our transmission engineers study the system to make sure power can move reliably across the region as new projects come online and consumer demand patterns change.

New England has a long history of making necessary investments in the transmission system. Since 2002, the region has invested nearly $12 billion in improving the bulk power grid, boosting system reliability and allowing for the movement of lower-cost electricity across the six New England states.

Looking to the future, the New England states in 2020 released a vision statement detailing their goals for the region’s power system and further jump-starting important conversations about what electric infrastructure investments are needed in the coming decades. Over the past three years, we have worked collaboratively to determine how the region can build upon past success as the states look to meet their aggressive climate goals.


One component of this effort, the 2050 Transmission Study, showed that more than half of the region’s 9,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines could become overloaded by the middle of the century if upgrades are not made along the way. Work is underway now to determine how to turn the results of this study into infrastructure development, and this type of longer-term look ahead will be part of the region’s planning processes moving forward.

Further, ISO New England is proud to serve as a technical resource to the New England states as they look to leverage federal financing for offshore wind transmission development, while also increasing interregional coordination with New York and New Jersey.

And while we plot out plans for the grid of the future, ISO New England remains focused on the grid of today. More than 4,500 megawatts of offshore wind projects either have completed the ISO’s interconnection review process or will soon, meaning they can connect to the regional grid as soon as their construction is complete. Though some of these projects have hit headwinds in their development, the power grid is ready for them.

We are also working with the states and stakeholders in developing a framework under which certain transmission upgrades already needed for safety and reliability reasons can be scaled up to accommodate the clean energy transition. Getting this standardized process in place will allow for the efficient development of infrastructure moving forward.

Getting to the clean, reliable power system we all want will require hard work, careful analysis and difficult decisions, particularly in a region where siting infrastructure can be challenging. At ISO New England, we have already rolled up our sleeves and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners in the New England states.

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