How to Make the Grid Secure

LCG March 1, 2021--February’s winter weather has brought a new level of uncertainty to the Texas grid, on top of rapid renewables growth and hot summer weather. Not only did the blackouts solidify the need to plan for extreme weather in winter and summer, but they also brought Texas residents, the governor, and the legislature into a public conversation about demand-supply planning.

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Winter Storm Event Decimates Texas Power Supply

******** February 19, 2021 update--The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects to come out of emergency conditions later this morning, the wholesale electricity prices is back to pre emergency level. ******** LCG, February 18, 2021-–Extreme winter weather swept across the central and southern states over the week beginning Feb 8, bringing record low temperatures and heavy snow. The temperatures shocked the Texas grid, pushing it to operational limits that ERCOT and generators did not expect and spiking wholesale electricity prices. A combination of higher-than-expected demand and plant and natural gas failures gutted the available power supply.

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Industry News

Governor of Rhode Island Calls for 600 MW of Additional Offshore Wind Energy

LCG, October 29, 2020--The Governor of Rhode Island announced this week that the state will issue request for proposals (RFP) to procure up to 600 MW of new offshore wind energy. A draft RFP will be developed by National Grid this fall, with oversight by the state Office of Energy Resources. If approved by the Public Utilities Commission, a final RFP is anticipated to be issued to the marketplace in early-2021. Any contracts for offshore wind projects resulting from this RFP process will also require separate regulatory approvals.

The Governor stated, "In the face of global climate change, Rhode Island must drive toward a cleaner, more affordable and reliable clean energy future. It is critical that we accelerate our adoption of carbon-free resources to power our homes and businesses, while creating clean energy jobs. In January, I set a nation-leading goal for Rhode Island to meet 100 percent of its electricity demand with renewables by 2030. Offshore wind will help us achieve that bold, but achievable goal, while creating jobs and cementing our status as a major hub in the nation's burgeoning offshore wind industry."

Rhode Island is home to North America's first operational offshore wind farm, Block Island. In 2019, the 400 MW Revolution Wind offshore project received approval from the state. (The Revolution Wind project is designed to provide 400 MW to Rhode Island and 304 MW to Connecticut.) As of the second quarter of 2020, Rhode Island counted 933 MW of renewable energy in its portfolio, representing a nine-fold increase since 2016.

The Governor's Executive Order, signed in January, directs the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) to conduct economic and energy market analysis and develop viable policy and programmatic pathways to meet 100 percent of the state's electricity demand with renewable energy resources by 2030. The OER's analysis is to consider how acceleration of the state's renewable energy supply can leverage market competition to reduce ratepayer costs and energy price volatility while creating economic development opportunities in the state. The OER is to provide the Governor with an action plan to achieve the renewable energy goal by December 31, 2020, and the plan is to include recommended programmatic, legislative, and/or regulatory initiatives that can be advanced beginning in 2021.
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