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New England energy grid plans for future without the Killingly gas plant

Toby Talbot

New England has enough power resources to meet demand in the coming years without a proposed natural gas plant in Killingly, Connecticut, in the mix, according to the regional energy grid operator.

ISO New England announced Thursday that the Killingly natural gas power plant is off the table after consecutive legal wins last month from federal regulators and the U.S. District Court of Appeals.

Last November, ISO asked permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to remove the proposed 650-megawatt facility in Killingly from consideration in the region’s annual capacity auction in February. ISO argued that NTE Energy, the Florida-based plant owner, missed required deadlines that would show progress of development in Killingly.

Days before the auction began last month, NTE challenged the request in the federal district appeals court to keep Killingly’s place in the region’s energy mix.

ISO made two sets of calculations for its energy capacity future — one with Killingly and one without.

With Killingly now off the table, NTE will have to reapply to enter the region’s energy mix.

Preparing for power

To prepare for the region’s expected energy demand in 2025, ISO closed the auction with 38,600 megawatts of electricity — enough to nearly 29 million homes in New England. Most of the power comes from existing energy sources, but 5,200 megawatts will come from 300 new resources, including wind, hydro and solar sources. Fifteen percent of the region’s energy mix is expected to come from renewable sources.

Federal regulators will allow ISO some flexibility to acquire more or less capacity, based on demand and availability of energy resources — say, if a new natural gas power plant or offshore wind farm becomes online.

The Biden administration aims to have 30 gigawatts of offshore wind operating by 2030.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
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