Letter to Senator Ed Markey: lead us back on track

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Fri, 03/04/2022 - 16:10

February 24, 2022

Dear Senator Markey,

At a time when we must urgently reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as methane gas and oil to mitigate the looming climate crisis, critical agencies and institutions are fighting a rear guard action that threatens us all.

I seek your leadership and active intervention in correcting the misguided actions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Despite their recognition that the regulations of ISO-NE, the energy regulator for New England, were out of date and unfairly favored fossil fuels over cheaper renewables, they allowed the ISO-NE ruling to stand. MMWEC and Anbaric had proposed to develop a 100MW battery storage facility and offered to sell it to the grid at a price below the floor price set by ISO-NE. ISO-NE rejected their offer because it was too inexpensive!

When MMWEC and Anbaric appealed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), they lost. Although FERC stated that the regulations were in need of revision, they let stand the rejection of the MMWEC/Anbaric proposal.

“...The existing Tariff appears to be unjust and unreasonable.  ISO New England’s MOPR regime ... appears to act as a barrier to competition, insulating incumbent generators from having to compete with certain new resources that may be able to provide capacity at lower cost.  Such overbroad barriers are the antithesis of market competition...and increase the costs of state policies.” Joint Concurrence of Chairman Glick and Commissioner Clements Regarding ISO New England Inc. January 21, 2022.

Thus we have lost the benefits of clean, reliable energy storage that was deemed too inexpensive! Worse, we have locked in a new polluting source at a time when we must rapidly switch to clean renewables.

Those of us who have sought to prevent the building of a new 60 MW methane gas peak power generator here in Peabody have been told by the state agency sponsor, the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company, that clean, reliable battery storage was not feasible. But at the same time, they were in partnership to develop a 100 MW facility which has now been blocked by ISO-NE and FERC. The heavy hand of the fossil fuel industry continues to threaten progress to a clean energy future. I include a link to the article in which I review in some detail the failure of regulation at every level.

I urge you to lead the effort to get us back on track.

Thank you for what you do and for your consideration.


Jerry Halberstadt

Coordinator, Clean Power Coalition