ISO New England (ISO-NE) has published a breakdown of the amount of electricity produced by generators in New England and imported from other regions to satisfy all residential, commercial, and industrial customer demand from the power grid in 2023 – and total production for the year, known as net energy for load (NEL), amounted to 114,727 gigawatt-hours.

In 2023, New England had nearly 400 dispatchable generators and about 30,700 MW of generating capability, with 99.3% of electricity provided by natural gas, nuclear, hydropower, and imported electricity (mostly in the form of hydropower from Eastern Canada) and renewables. About 40,000 MW of new capacity is proposed to be built, the report said, and more than 7,000 MW of generation have retired since 2013 or may retire in the next few years, composed of mostly coal-fired, oil-fired and nuclear power plants. The region’s remaining two zero-carbon-emitting nuclear facilities, Millstone and Seabrook, supply a quarter of the electricity New England consumes in a year.

New England also had about 3,800 MW of of demand capacity resources (DCRs) and about 350,000 distributed solar power installations totaling 6,500 MW, with most installed behind the meter.

This number was calculated by adding total electricity generation and price-responsive demand reduction within New England to net imports from and exports to neighboring regions. The energy used to operate pumped storage power plants is then subtracted from that sum. Numbers are preliminary, pending the resettlement process.

Output from solar installations increased by 6% from 2022, rising to 3,851 GWh or 3% of the NEL. Wind power was relatively steady from year to year at 3% of NEL.

Oil-fired resources produced less electricity in 2023 than in 2022, accounting for 322 GWh, or 0.32% of the NEL, compared to the previous year’s 1,844 GWh. Production from coal-fired resources decreased from 320 GWh to 182 GWh, accounting for .16% of NEL for 2023.

Credit: ISO-NE

All six New England states have renewable portfolio standards, which require electricity suppliers to provide customers with increasing percentages of renewable energy, ISO-NE said. Because large-scale renewable resources typically have higher up-front capital costs and different financing opportunities than more conventional resources, they have had difficulty competing in the wholesale markets. Therefore, the New England states are promoting, at varying levels and speed, the development of specific clean-energy resources to meet their public policy goals.

Several states have established public policies that direct electric power companies to enter into ratepayer-funded, long-term contracts for large-scale carbon-free energy that would cover most, if not all, of the resource’s costs.

About 97% of resources currently proposed for the region are grid-scale wind, solar and battery projects. As of January 2024, about 40,000 MW have been proposed in the ISO New England Interconnection Request Queue.

Credit: ISO-NE

Energy storage represented 46% of the projects in the Interconnection Request Queue as of January 2024, and solar power accounted for 10%. Most solar power in New England is connected behind the meter directly at retail customer sites. Because such projects do not follow the ISO interconnection process, they aren’t reflected in the Interconnection Request Queue numbers.

The region had a total of about 350,000 distributed solar power installations as of December 2023 with a combined nameplate generating capability of approximately 6,500 MW. 

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