Mass. joins neighbors to coordinate electricity transmission

AP PHOTO/JEFF ROBERSON

AP PHOTO/JEFF ROBERSON AP PHOTO/JEFF ROBERSON

By COLIN A. YOUNG

State House News Service

Published: 07-10-2024 7:41 AM

Massachusetts joined nine other states Tuesday in an agreement to coordinate their efforts to increase the transmission of electricity between three different regions of the grid and get a better handle on offshore wind infrastructure needs and solutions.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper said the 10 northeast and mid-Atlantic states are “working together like never before” to collaborate on interregional transmission planning and development issues, “a top priority of the Healey-Driscoll Administration.” The other states that signed onto the memorandum of understanding are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Today’s announcement charts a path forward in the critical work that this group of ten states, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, can accomplish to build a more reliable electric grid and drive down consumer costs by expanding access across markets,” Jason Marshall, deputy secretary for federal and regional energy affairs, said. “Our collective planning now will ensure that we maximize investments in infrastructure that are foundational to meeting power system demands in the decades to come.”

In addition to collaboration around interregional transmission infrastructure and establishing mechanisms for sharing information, the MOU also calls for the 10 states to produce a strategic action plan for promoting the development of interregional transmission projects for offshore wind. Elected officials in Massachusetts and the rest of the East Coast are relying upon the industry for clean energy and economic development progress.

“The action plan would include identification of barriers to such projects and actionable options for addressing them,” the Healey administration said. “The states also intend to coordinate on technical standards for offshore wind transmission equipment to ensure future flexibility and interoperability as projects come on-line in different locations and at different times, preserving the ability to interconnect regions as the industry matures.”

The announcement came as Massachusetts faced another day of hot and humid weather, and as grid operator ISO New England forecasted the day’s peak electricity demand to be about 23.6 gigawatts during the 6 p.m. hour.

That would surpass the summer’s current peak demand level of 22.8 GW set on June 20, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s peak demand notification program. With air conditioners pressed into extended duty, Wednesday’s projected peak demand of 22.9 GW could also establish a new high mark for the summer, MAPC said.

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