The governors of five of the six New England states met on April 23 to discuss solutions to the regional energy supply challenges that have caused prices to spike during recent winters, reports WBUR News. The governors released a joint plan titled “Actions for a Cleaner, More Reliable, and More Affordable Energy Future.” The plan notes commitments made by each of the six states and notes specific positions of each administration. It encourages:
- Continued investment in energy efficiency and distributed generation.
- Procurement of clean generation and transmission through existing regulatory authority.
- Solving infrastructure challenges.
While the New Hampshire Union Leader criticized the plan for failing to establish any specific actions to be taken jointly, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton said, ‘As symbolic as this statement is, it’s very powerful.’
According to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New England energy customers have paid an extra $7.5 million to power generators over the past two winters due to insufficient natural gas transmission capacity. Gordon Van Welie, CEO of ISO New England, elaborated that this forced the grid operator to purchase more expensive generation from coal and oil. Meanwhile, environmentalists and property owners gathered outside the meeting to protest the proposed gas pipelines. If a new pipeline is built, or a current pipeline is expanded, it is unclear exactly how the investment will be financed. For more information on pipeline finance, the American Gas Association released a paper titled Ratemaking for Energy Pipelines in 2011 that explains how developers usually recover their investments in gas pipelines.