FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2013
Contact: Jennifer Donahue 617 500 9993 email@example.com
NECEC STATEMENT ON GRID MODERNIZATION STEERING COMMITTEE REPORT
Boston, MA—The New England Clean Energy Council applauds the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) for its leadership in advancing Grid Modernization in Massachusetts. Today, a diverse group of stakeholders, members of the Department’s Grid Modernization Steering Committee, filed its report recommending that the DPU act expeditiously to provide the guidelines utilities need to pursue grid modernization investments.
“Grid modernization represents an opportunity for Massachusetts to become a leader in integrating renewable and clean distributed resources and making grid infrastructure more efficient,” said NECEC President Peter Rothstein. “This is a great start. The DPU can now take the next step to ensure Massachusetts moves forward quickly to modernize its grid, enhance the effectiveness of the state’s clean energy initiatives, and capture their benefits for energy consumers.”
NECEC led and coordinated a “Clean Energy Caucus,” bringing together a broad range of clean energy companies, including solar, storage, electric vehicles, fuel cells, and energy efficiency and demand response, along with ENE, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, MassCEC, and ISO New England. The group worked to recommend principles, a regulatory model and a benefit-cost framework that will chart a path for distribution utilities.
“A modern grid will provide improved reliability, resiliency, and cost savings for businesses and residents,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “This report provides input from a broad group of stakeholders and highlights the importance of transparency as we modernize our grid.”
As meetings of the Steering Committee progressed, the Clean Energy Caucus reached agreement with competitive energy suppliers, customer representatives and the distribution utilities on recommendations for moving forward. Grid modernization will create a more resilient grid in the face of major storms, while improving reliability, efficiency, and power quality, as well as enabling clean and diverse distributed energy resources.
“Grid Modernization presents a clear path to bridge the State’s increased need for resilient energy with its clean energy goals,” said Lisa Ward, manager of government relations at ClearEdge Power. “Recognizing the need for more reliable power, the State needs to leverage the growing partnership between the utilities and the clean energy industry.”
“Massachusetts cannot develop the kind of cleaner, more efficient, resilient energy system that it envisions with the aging power grid of today,” said Natalie Hildt of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP). “It is time for new policy frameworks, new rate structures and investments in the tools and technologies that will get us there.”
The Report recognizes that third parties, from demand response providers to competitive suppliers, will be a critical part of grid modernization or smart grid development, making investments in infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations, that benefit consumers without affecting utility rates.
“It’s a key part of an overall strategy needed to achieve a truly sustainable energy system in Massachusetts,” said Abigail Anthony of ENE. “Investing in local clean energy resources and energy efficiency will improve grid reliability while reducing the state’s skyrocketing expenditure on regional transmission infrastructure.”
Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said, “The U.S. electrical grid faces significant challenges, including growing demand for customer-sited and renewable generation, technical breakdowns, and weather-related disasters. SEIA applauds the Massachusetts DPU for recognizing this and taking steps to meet conventional needs.”
The DPU will accept comments on the Steering Committee’s report from members and interested stakeholders for a period of 3 weeks following today’s filing. The work of NECEC and the Committee demonstrates the breadth of energy stakeholders working to accelerate grid modernization.
“Massachusetts is acting decisively to build a grid that can respond to the needs of both its citizens and economy,” stated Michael W. McCarthy, Director of Government Affairs at Ambient Corporation in Newton. “Energy consumers of all kinds are demanding better service, greater environmental stewardship and constant innovation.”
About The New England Clean Energy Council
The New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC, a 501(c)(6) trade member organization) is the lead voice for hundreds of clean energy companies across New England, influencing the energy policy agenda and growing the clean energy economy. NECEC’s mission is to accelerate New England’s clean energy economy to global leadership by building an active community of stakeholders and a world-class cluster of clean energy companies.