A reduction in generating resources, resulting from potential risk factors such as an aging number of power plants, environmental regulations, as well as financial uncertainty in the market, could bring about deficit electricity conditions in certain areas of New England within the next two to four years, ISO New England (ISO-NE) said on Thursday.

The Board of Directors of ISO-NE has approved the 2004 Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP04), which identifies areas of needed improvement on the region’s bulk power system and provides vital information to the market for investment purposes, both necessary ingredients to assure long-term power system reliability and market efficiency.

RTEP04 analyzed the adequacy of power system resources within New England to meet electricity needs, finding that new investment in power supply, transmission and conservation will be necessary for system reliability, particularly in the transmission constrained areas of the region.

“Significant investment in generating resources in previous years created a healthy supply of power for the region that has delivered both reliability and economic benefits for New England’s electricity users,” said Gordon van Welie, ISO-NE’s CEO. “This investment has slowed considerably. With growing electricity demand, aging power supply resources and ongoing bottlenecks on the transmission system, New England must invest now in its energy future to ensure the benefits of a reliable and efficient system continue.”

New England currently has 250 planned or proposed regulated transmission projects, including a number of new projects identified in this year’s report. Investment in these projects could reach $3 billion over the next 10 years. The actual amount of investment depends on the final design of each upgrade or addition.

One of the major projects included in this year’s RTEP is a second interconnection from Maine to New Brunswick. This 345 kV line will ensure reliability benefits throughout the region by addressing a number of bulk power system needs, providing additional opportunities for energy exchange with New Brunswick and improving the reliability and efficiency of the bulk power system.

The fourth edition of the RTEP report provides a comprehensive description of transmission projects and a detailed explanation of resource requirements, including the location, timing and amount of needed new supplies.

Previous RTEP reports identified resource constraints in Southwest Connecticut, the state of Connecticut, Greater Boston and Northwest Vermont that create both local and regional reliability concerns. Projects to address these constraints are in various stages of development, siting or construction:

FERC assigned ISO-NE responsibility for regional system planning in 2000. The RTEP report is the result of a year-long collaborative process with industry stakeholders, including state regulators and market participants, to develop a comprehensive system assessment and transmission planning analyses to define projects that maximize reliability and system efficiency and minimize transmission constraints.

All of the recommended RTEP04 projects planned are needed for regional reliability or wholesale market efficiency, the ISO said.

©Copyright 2004 Intelligence Press Inc. Allrights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republishedor redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without priorwritten consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.