Nov 8 Average electric demand in New England is
expected to remain flat over the next 10 years due to increased
use of energy efficiency programs, the power grid operator for
the six-state region said on Friday.
"When the effects of energy efficiency are included, the
forecast shows essentially no long-run growth in electric energy
use and 0.9 percent annual growth in annual summer peak demand,"
ISO New England said in a release.
The ISO issued the demand forecast as part of an annual
regional system plan, which its board of directors approved on
That plan also said distributed generation, mostly from
solar power at residential, corporate and government sites, is
growing rapidly in New England and is expected to reach more
than 2,000 megawatts by the end of 2021, up from the current 250
That 2,000 MW represents about 7 percent of the ISO's
all-time peak demand record of 28,130 MW, which was set in the
summer of 2006.
The more consumers generate power for themselves, the less
they need to buy from the grid, which is bad news for the
region's generators who are already struggling with low prices
and the prospect of no demand growth over the next decade.
The ISO said it convened a working group to develop
strategies to address the potential negative effects of high
levels of distributed generation on system reliability.
The ISO also said it has developed several strategies to
deal with the growing use of natural gas to produce power in the
The ISO said natural gas-fired plants produced 52 percent of
the electricity generated in New England in 2012. That is up
from just 15 percent in 2000, the ISO has said.
The rest of the generation in the region came from nuclear
plants at 31 percent, hydro at 7 percent, renewables at 7
percent, coal at 3 percent and oil at less that 1 percent, the
Generating companies meanwhile have announced plans to shut
coal and oil-fired units and a nuclear reactor as the low cost
of gas due to record shale production has reduced power prices,
making it uneconomic to upgrade older, less efficient plants to
meet increasingly strict federal and state environmental rules.
Separately, the ISO said power companies in June completed
the installation of 40 phasor measurement units or
The phasors provide data to the grid operator and utilities
that can be used to optimize the flow of power on the
high-voltage lines and improve reliability by reducing system
disturbances, the ISO said.
In addition, the ISO said power companies plan to invest
about $5.7 billion in the transmission system over the next five
years, including projects in the Boston area, Maine and
elsewhere in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The biggest power companies in New England include units of
National Grid Plc, Northeast Utilities, Iberdrola
SA, NextEra Energy Inc, Dominion Resources Inc
, Entergy Corp, Exelon Corp, NRG Energy Inc
and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.