New England States Defer Transmission Upgrades

Energy efficiency programs in New England have alleviated the near-term need for $260 million in transmissions system upgrades, according to ISO-New England’s December energy efficiency report.

ISO-New England (ISO-NE) is a non-profit that oversees the restructured electric power system for six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Electricity for the region’s 6.5 million households and businesses is produced in New England by more than 350 generators dispatched by ISO-NE. The non-profit is charged with operating the power system and administering the region’s wholesale electric markets.

In 2012, New England’s state public utilities commissions offered more than 125 energy efficiency programs in the ISO-NE states. Many of these programs, which have been around for several years, focused on relatively simple changes such as upgrading to LED lighting or adding more insulation.

For the four-year period 2008-2011, the NE states spent $1.2 billion on energy efficiency, resulting in 3,502 GWh of energy saved, with an average annual reduction in electricity use of 876 GWh. Total summer peak demand savings was 514 MW, with an average annual summer peak demand reduction of 128 MW.

With these benchmarks, ISO-NE is forecasting regional peak demand to grow only .9 percent from 2012–2021, with a flat annual growth in energy consumption over the same period, and winter peak demand forecast to decline nearly .5 percent. With these consumption forecasts, ISO-NE says that 10 upgrades of transmission lines and other equipment can be deferred to years beyond 2020, saving the region about $260 million.

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