Bill Quinlan, President of Transmission and Offshore Wind Projects, Eversource
As the largest energy delivery company in New England, our focus every day at Eversource is ensuring safe, reliable service for our customers while also prioritizing the environment and the different ways our company can help protect it. Each time there is a storm, which is happening more and more frequently, it is a reminder of the unrelenting power of nature and the pace of climate change. Eversource is enabling more clean energy sources in the region to connect to the grid and strategically planning our infrastructure projects to maximize the use of our existing rights-of-way and avoid additional environmental impacts. We are making investments in a modern, clean energy grid that will benefit our customers, communities, and the climate for decades to come.
Eversource is also working to improve the reliability of the regional electric system so that power can flow efficiently from where it is generated to customers. Since 2005, we have invested $11 billion in grid improvements that has enabled an annual customer savings of up to $600 million per year. These improvements include upgrading poles, wires, and other equipment that all make the grid more resilient to New England’s increasingly unpredictable weather.
The electric transmission system plays an essential role in connecting large-scale renewable and clean resources to the grid and supporting the growth of local clean energy resources and electric cars and buildings. It is encouraging to see a growing and widespread recognition of the importance of transmission as an enabler, and there are many pending policies that could help transmission development. But while we are waiting for government reforms, Eversource is taking action now to make progress and accelerate the pace of change in our industry.
We are making investments in a modern, clean energy grid that will benefit our customers, communities, and the climate for decades to come
About 95 percent of the new power generation resources currently proposed for development in the New England region are large-scale wind, solar and battery projects, with 30,000 megawatts (as of January 2022) preparing to connect to the grid. This is great news for the environment, but significant transmission investments are necessary to make this energy accessible to customers. While there is much more work to be done, Eversource has been making critical investments in our energy infrastructure that improve reliability in the near term and enable a clean energy future.
To support climate change and clean energy generation goals set by policymakers in Massachusetts, some of the efforts we are making include:
• Enabling the June 2024 retirement of Mystic Generating Station, a 2,000 MW fossil fuel-emitting resource, by completing our portion of the Ready Path Solution, a joint project with National Grid in the Greater Boston area, on budget and ahead of schedule.
• Finalizing plans for a co-optimized approach on Cape Cod that will maintain reliability and service quality while facilitating the connection of offshore wind and preserving the environment by eliminating the need for a new line to be built in a new right-of-way.
• Building a microgrid and 25-MW battery storage solution in Provincetown that will improve reliability by providing essential back-up power to customers in Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet, a solution that avoids building another power line through environmentally sensitive areas.
• Meeting increased demand for electricity in the Cambridge area (both current and projected) through a proposed underground substation that preserves open green space at the ground level for the community and several new underground transmission lines connecting to existing substations.
• Piloting utility-scale, networked geothermal energy for heating and cooling in Framingham.
In Connecticut, we connected the largest commercial solar project in the state at 50 megawatts to the grid in December 2021, and we’re working to interconnect projects that will provide approximately 400 megawatts of solar power to Connecticut customers. Our efforts in New Hampshire are focused on rebuilding lines that are 70+ years old in existing rights-of-way. This initiative will strengthen the grid’s resilience while allowing power from a diverse mix of sources to flow reliably to New Hampshire customers. Across our service territory, we also offer industry-leading energy efficiency initiatives to help our customers save energy and money.
The evolution to the grid of the future is not simple — but by anticipating what our clean energy future will look like, working transparently together with our partners, and keeping cost effectiveness and all of our customers in mind, Eversource is well positioned to help get us there. We believe it is our responsibility to make these investments on behalf of our customers, which directly impact our planet by enabling the decarbonization of the electric grid and, eventually, other sectors of the economy. In the face of climate change and a race to reach lowered emissions goals worldwide, we’re working year-round to prioritize the environment in all that we do.
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