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ISO New England to study market impacts of up to 12 GW of offshore wind power

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ISO New England to study market impacts of up to 12 GW of offshore wind power

ISO New England is conducting three economic studies to evaluate the impact of up to 12 GW of offshore wind power on prices, the wholesale market and the transmission system as the U.S. East Coast prepares for an influx of offshore wind power development.

Interest renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, continues to grow in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. On May 17, Massachusetts regulators approved a request by local electric distribution utilities to issue a request for proposals for an additional 800 MW of offshore wind resources to be in service by 2024. On May 22, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan allowed Senate Bill 516 to become law, though he did not sign the bill. It contains a provision increasing the state's renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030, with specifications for in-state solar resources and 1,200 MW of offshore wind.

Offshore wind projects are also being developed to supply consumers in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia. S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates the East Coast could have nearly 9 GW of nameplate offshore wind capacity installed by 2030.

Requests to conduct the economic studies were submitted to ISO-NE by the New England States Committee on Electricity, or NESCOE, transmission developer Anbaric Development Partners LLC and clean energy nonprofit RENEW Northeast, according to an ISO-NE presentation given during a Planning Advisory Committee meeting May 21.

NESCOE requested the grid operator study the transmission system and wholesale power market impacts from increasing offshore wind penetration, and Anbaric asked that impacts to energy market prices, air emissions and regional fuel security be studied.

RENEW's study request is focused on the economic impact of increased hourly operating limits on a specific potion of the transmission system as grid upgrades are made to integrate what is anticipated to be considerable volumes of offshore wind power, according to ISO-NE.

NESCOE requested evaluation of scenarios in which 1,000 MW, 2,000 MW and 7,000 MW of offshore wind are developed by 2030, as well as 5,000 MW and 7,000 MW by 2035.

Anbaric requested ISO-NE study the impacts of 8,000 MW, 10,000 MW and 12,000 MW of offshore wind power for target year 2030.

RENEW's request will be "handled in parallel to NESCOE's and Anbaric's," ISO-NE said.

Fuel prices for coal, oil, and natural gas will be based on recent forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration for New England, according to the grid operator.

Jared Anderson is a reporter for S&P Global Platts. S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.