"Canal Generating Plant: Cost, Reliability, the Environment & Our Future"
Ratepayers on the Cape and Islands are paying the highest electric rates in the continental United States.
Legislators, industry experts, and other invited guests will discuss the Canal Generating Plant's economic, environmental, and social impacts at a forum from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 21 at the Oak Ridge School in Sandwich hosted by CIRenew.
The event is free, open to the public, and refreshments will be served.
The event is particularly timely in light of continuing debate over the plant's role in ensuring electric reliability and ongoing regulatory deliberations that threaten the plant's future.
Speakers are expected to address the Canal plant's operations and its contributions to electric rates and reliability, its pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, its impacts on aquatic species, and its status as the largest taxpayer in the town of Sandwich.
Invitees include elected officials as well as representatives from Mirant, the plant's owner; NStar, the local distribution company; and ISO-NE, the entity charged with ensuring grid reliability throughout New England.
At present, ratepayers on the Cape, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket are paying the highest electric rates in the continental United States. One contributor is a so-called "uplift charge" associated with the Canal plant, which has been designated by ISO-NE as a "must-run" unit in order for southeastern Massachusetts (SEMA) to meet federal electric reliability standards. Legislators have been working to bring relief to the area's ratepayers, and the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy is planning to hold a hearing on the issue later this month.
At tonight's forum, speakers will explore issues and solutions. For example, NStar is implementing several grid reinforcement projects to improve reliability in SEMA, while Mirant is evaluating generation-based alternatives at the Canal plant site. ISO-NE is scheduled to release a report today outlining a full range of long-term options, including efficiency, demand response, fossil generation, and both distributed and large-scale renewable generation.