PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Recognizing the critical role that New England's regional wholesale electricity market plays in addressing climate change and cost-effectively reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Governors from four Northeast states today issued a statement calling for reforms needed to achieve their states' respective goals for clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.
"Here in Rhode Island, we're committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing our future. I'm proud that we're on track to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030," said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "In order to meet our shared clean energy goals and aggressively combat climate change, it's clear we need to take a regional approach."
The statement, signed by Governor Raimondo, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and Vermont Governor Phil Scott calls for reform of the regional electricity market design, transmission planning process, and the governance of the ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power system. A Vision document outlining specific areas for reform will be released later this week through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), a non-profit entity that represents the collective perspective of the New England states in regional electricity matters.
"When Connecticut deregulated our electricity sector, we were promised competition, lower risk for ratepayers, more affordable electricity, and a system that respects and accommodates our clean energy mandates," said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. "What we got is a system that has actively hindered our efforts to decarbonize the grid, and imposed burdensome costs on Connecticut ratepayers to fix market design failures. Working together with our neighboring states, I'm committed to achieving a regional electricity grid that provides the affordable, clean, and reliable electricity that Connecticut families and businesses deserve."
"It is far past time that New England reforms how its electric grid is managed," said Maine Governor Janet Mills. "The wholesale electricity markets must advance and support clean energy laws and policies, as the states demand decarbonization and markets and consumers support more renewables. ISO-New England must keep pace with state priorities and it must be more transparent and accountable in its decision making, broadening its focus to include consumer and environment concerns as well as reliability and cost."
"To meet to our Administration's goal of net zero emissions in Massachusetts by 2050, the Commonwealth needs a regional electricity system that can support the delivery of clean, affordable, and reliable energy to residents and businesses," said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. "My administration looks forward to working with our partner states, ISO-New England and stakeholders to build a more transparent, modern and cost-effective power system that will allow New England states to meet our ambitious climate change and clean energy goals while creating a better future for our residents."
"I've long said our work to address climate change can and must also work to make energy more affordable for Vermonters, so I'm pleased to be a part of this regional approach to achieving both of these priorities," said Vermont Governor Phil Scott. "With a strategic, multi-state approach we can have a greater impact on both climate change mitigation and energy affordability."
In the coming months, the states will convene open and accessible forums to ensure that all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in further refinement of the principles of the shared Vision.