Would the Last Generator to Leave the Wholesale Competitive Energy Market Please Turn Off the Lights?

On Friday, Connecticut announced that it had reached agreement with Dominion, Eversource, and United Illuminating to keep the Millstone nuclear plant operating for 10 more years.  Not coincidentally, on the same day, the six New England Governors announced their “Commitment to Regional Cooperation on Energy Issues.”  An important element of that commitment is to work with ISO New England:

to evaluate market-based mechanisms that value the contribution that existing nuclear generation resources make to regional energy security and winter reliability.

Another important element is to:

work together on a mechanism or mechanisms to value the important attributes of [clean energy] resources, while ensuring consumers in any one state do not fund the public policy requirements mandated by another state’s laws.

Good luck with all that.  I support maintaining nuclear generation.  I support clean energy procurements, such as those mandated by the Massachusetts legislature known as 83C and 83D.  However, we’ve got to recognize the impact that these procurements are increasingly having on the competitive wholesale market.  We need to remember that electricity restructuring was a huge success, resulting in lower prices and reduced GHG emissions.

If we continue to rely on out-of-market procurements to attain various attributes that policy makers in different states value, nothing will remain of the competitive wholesale market.

Will the last competitive generator please turn out the lights?  After all, that’s just good demand management.

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