As a further sign of changes happening to the electric grid, non-traditional power sources – solar and wind generation, energy storage and reduction in demand resources – accounted for 15% of all power production that won the latest futures auction in New England.
Solar generation and battery storage or resources combining the two accounted for all 311 MW of new generation that won bids.
That’s the result of the 16th annual capacity auction held by ISO-NE, which runs the six state power grid. The auction is held to ensure that there will be enough electricity to meet demand three years from now. Power plants and others bid to say how much electricity they guarantee they will be able to produce, or demand they guarantee they will be able to reduce. Winners will be paid to be available regardless of how much power they actually produce.
Traditionally the auction was won by large, fuel-burning power plants but in recent years other resources have entered the mix.
ISO-NE said nearly 5,000 MW of all capacity with winning bids, known as “clearing the auction,” were non-traditional sources.
Overall, the auction secured capacity commitments of 32,810 megawatts (MW) available in 2025-2026, more than the 31,645 MW that ISO-NE said was needed to ensure the system was reliable. Prices ranging from $2.639 per kilowatt-month (kW-month) to $2.531 kW-month across different pricing zones, about the same as last year.
More than 700 MW of new and existing energy storage cleared, as did more than 500 MW of solar generation, including new and existing resources. A total of 275 MW of existing wind generation resources cleared the auction.
Plant-specific details will be released in a week or two – that’s when we’ll learn whether the last coal-fired plant, Merrimack Station in Bow, has gotten an extra year of financial life.