Grid operator ISO New England announced it would extend the minimum price rule (MOPR), which will be in effect through 2024. This move was condemned by renewable energy advocates.
ISO New England released a statement describing the “transition” proposal, which will be submitted to FERC in the coming weeks. If allowed to proceed, then the MOPR would continue to be in force for next year’s capacity-auction.
The proposed transition, which is paired with the exemption for renewable technology resources (RTR), will serve the region with a dual objective of protecting power system reliability and allowing state-sponsored resources to gain entry into the market, ISO New England wrote in a blog posting.
ISO New England, which manages the grid for Connecticut and Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, stated that its plan was to “minimize short-term reliability impacts” from ending the MOPR.
On February 4, the New England Power Pool Participant’s Committee supported the decision.
Gregory Wetstone is the American Council on Renewable Energy’s president and CEO. He stated that his group was “disappointed that ISO-NE reversed its earlier commitments to eliminate anti-competitive, anti-renewable MOPR by 2030”. In a statement, he stated that delay in implementation would prevent clean energy from competing in regional capacity markets for two more years. He called MOPR a “costly, inefficient barrier” to achieving clean-energy goals and demanded that it be “quickly eliminated.”
MOPRs in capacity market capacity markets are being opposed by renewable energy advocates. They argue that they prevent energy resources like solar and wind from participating in the auction, and lower capacity costs for consumers. Advocates say that the MOPR is particularly problematic as more states adopt clean energy standards and mandates.
Rao Konidena was an independent energy consultant and previously worked on policy issues for the Midcontinent ISO. He predicted that FERC will not reject the extension if Republicans regain Congress control.
Konidena stated that while the Forward Capacity Market Revenue of ISO New England reached $3.6 billion in 2018, it declined to $2.7 billion in 2020 due to increased renewable resource deployments.
Konidena stated in an interview that the MOPR debate had caused consternation among the stakeholder community. This was because the stakeholder process had been preempted. “Solar, wind and other renewable energy sources do not get 100% capacity credit. Gas does.” He stated that renewables were being “double penalized” under the MOPR.
ISO New England stated that it would submit its transition plan to FERC within the next few weeks.