The nonprofit that operates New England’s energy grid and wholesale energy market purchased power this week from two Rhode Island energy projects: Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm and Invenergy’s proposed power plant in Burrillville.
The offshore wind farm is scheduled to go online later this year, and the power plant has yet to gain approval from state officials.
ISO New England bought the power in an annual competitive auction designed to secure the region’s expected energy needs three years into the future.
Vice President of Market Operations Bob Ethier said this year's auction prices were lower by more than 25 percent compared to last year's auction. The lower prices reflect strong competition among power producers.
Ethier doesn’t have any insight into other factors (specific to the companies that bid in the auction) that affected lower bidding prices but, he said, “…it looks like for some of these developers everything sort of lined up that they were able to participate in the auction at a relatively low price.”
That means consumers will pay less for power in June 2019 through May 2020 than they will pay in June 2018 through May 2019.
Invenergy sold about half of the power it’s proposing to produce at its Burrillville facility. Deepwater Wind sold nearly 7 megawatts out of a total of 30 megawatts it projects from the Block Island Wind Farm. In the future, both companies may bid to sell more or less power in these auctions called Forward Capacity Market.
FCM auctions are different than the daily energy market auctions, in which ISO New England pays power generators for producing energy consumed each day.
“But that [daily] market is not sufficient to pay for all of the costs needed to build, develop and operate generators in the region, some of which are used only a handful of hours every year.”
Other ISO New England officials say if the Burrillville power plant is not approved by the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board, then Invenergy may sell its commitment in other auctions leading up to 2019 or through a private agreement with another power generator.