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Environment and Outdoors

New England Grid Operator Says Carbon Pricing Best Way To Meet Renewables Goals

ISO New England

The operator of the New England electricity grid is telling the region's political leaders that if they want to quickly get more renewable energy into the system, they should put a price on carbon emissions.

Last week eight New England senators, including Maine’s Angus King, wrote a letter scolding ISO New England for failing to support the region's renewable energy goals, and preserving the status-quo for fossil fuel sources.

ISO New England's CEO, Gordon Van Welie, responded that integration of renewable resources has always been one of the organization's goals, but he acknowledges that a recent market reform that can force renewable projects to wait in line until existing fossil fuel generators retire may be delaying the process. Going forward, he says, there will be more opportunity for intermittent resources such as wind or solar when they are coupled with energy storage technologies.

Setting a system-wide price on carbon-emissions would be the most effective way to move that ahead, Van Welie says. That might include a tax on carbon emissions or other market mechanisms, but it's an idea, which, he says, the New England states have opposed.

Originally published 4:16 p.m. Nov. 25, 2019