by Dean Musser PE
Municipal electric utilities in New England face significant energy cost increases in the coming years due to the retirement of older generation plants and the impact that shifts in the sourcing of generation will have on transmission patterns. Municipal utilities can mitigate the impact of these increases by reducing the amount of energy used across their service areas during targeted high-value periods, including critical peak hours. To accomplish this goal, municipal utilities must be able to do three things:
- Predict when high value hours will occur on the grid
- Motivate and empower large energy users in their service areas to reduce energy usage and, most importantly
- Do all of this without transferring the customer relationship to a third party vendor
The following discusses these issues in greater detail and describes how one municipal utility in New England is meeting the challenge by employing a strategy that relies on Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and a Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) that could save millions of dollars per year.
New England Generation Plant Retirements
EPA restrictions and marginal economics have caused a significant number of generation plants to announce retirements in New England. This, in turn, is driving cost increases in the coming years.
According to a published report1, More than 4,000 MW of primarily older, less efficient, and higher-emitting resources have already left the market, with another 3,500 MW exiting by 2018. Another 6,000 MW’s of capacity is sourced from plants that will be at least 40 years old by 2020 and designated at risk. Notable exits cited by the report include:
- Brayton Point Station (1,535 MW from oil and coal)
- Mount Tom Station (143 MW from coal)
- Norwalk Harbor Station (342 MW from oil)
- Salem Harbor Station (749 MW from oil and coal)
- Vermont Yankee Station (604 MW from nuclear power)
These exits will make it more expensive for municipal utilities to acquire the energy needed to service their customers. The table below shows the impact these retirements are having on key components of the region’s overall energy costs.
Read the entire Electric Energy T&D Article here.