- investments in additional energy efficiency, renewable generation, natural gas pipelines, and electric transmission
- balance intermittent generation, reduce peak demand, and displace some of the least efficient and most polluting fossil fuel generation
- meet clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals
- improving the economic competitiveness of our region
- advance a regional energy infrastructure initiative that diversifies our energy supply portfolio while
ensuring that the benefits and costs of transmission and pipeline investments are shared appropriately among the New England States
- respect individual state perspectives, particularly those of host states, as well as the natural resources, environment, and economy of the States
- ensure that the citizens and other stakeholders of our region, including NEPOOL, are involved in the process
- consistent with laws and policies across the region
- investments in local renewable generation, combined heat and power, and renewable and competitively-priced heating for buildings will support local markets and result in additional cost savings, new jobs and economic opportunities, and
- maximize ratepayer savings and system integrity
- greater integration and utilization of renewable generation
- development of new natural gas pipeline
- maximizing the use of existing transmission infrastructure
- investment, where appropriate, in new transmission infrastructure
- inclusion of energy efficiency, and the addition of distributed generation, in load forecasting and transmission planning
- expand economic development, promote job growth, improve the competitiveness of our industries, enhance system reliability, and protect and increase the quality of life of our citizens
Investment in local renewables and distributed generation does not mix with "regional" energy infrastructure and investment in new transmission. If you meet the first goal, you won't need the second.
But Joel Gordes, a West Hartford-based energy consultant, said the regional approach toward addressing energy issues has a downside as well.
“This is a compact region, but each state has its wants and needs that are in conflict at times,” Gordes said. “If this leads to building more transmission lines across New England instead of focusing on other areas that decentralize energy production, like microgrids and solar energy, than I see this as something that weakens our safety net in the aftermath of some of the large storms we’ve seen. Distributed energy projects, like microgrids, would make us more resilient.”
The goal of the agreement, which was announced jointly late Thursday by the governors, is to reduce energy costs in the region.
The agreement calls for the states to jointly determine how to spend billions of dollars in ratepayer money from all six states to develop additional transmission projects for both natural gas and electricity.
"...the commitment to an initiative that can support additional transmission lines to bring cleaner electricity into Connecticut is essential to reduce our carbon emissions and help mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change that we have felt so severely here in Connecticut.”
While Connecticut sees the agreement as a way to import energy it refuses to produce on its own, the sacrificial cow of New Hampshire (which is targeted as the host of Northern Pass to serve Connecticut's power needs) sees it as a step forward to prevent the ruination of its state for the needs of others.
[New Hampshire] Governor Maggie Hassan says the agreement - which she calls a "mission statement" - commits to expanding infrastructure like transmission lines and natural gas pipelines, which would help lower energy costs in the whole region. “But we want to make sure we do that in a way that really honors each state’s needs, and doesn’t disproportionately or inappropriately burden the people of any one state,” said Hassan in a cell phone interview on Friday.
The announcement comes at a time when the governors of Southern New England, with their more aggressive renewable energy goals, are especially concerned with rising energy rates. But some in Northern New England are worried about becoming a thoroughfare for renewable electricity destined for Boston and Hartford.
“I just think it’s a really positive an encouraging development,” said Hassan.
The only thing that seems to be clear here is that New England doesn't want any of this: