The CEO of ISO New England, the region’s electrical grid operator, says it may be wrong to claim that a proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville is not needed.
Environmentalists made that claim after one of the power plant’s gas turbines was recently disqualified from an upcoming electricity auction.
At the annual auction, energy companies bid to sell their power to New England customers starting three years after the auction. The auction ensures there's enough energy to power the region in coming years.
Power plant developer Invenergy participated in an auction last year, but has been disqualified for the next one in February 2018.
Gordon van Welie, CEO of ISO New England, said claims that the plant is not needed may not be true because energy needs in the region can change from year to year as aging power plants retire.
"The system we’ve set up will always ensure that there’s enough capacity to meet the needs three years into the future, and as that demand forecast changes, we’ll adjust (the auction)," van Weilie said. "You can’t sort of take one point in time and link it to a decision that was made in a completely different time, which is what this conversation (about the power plant not being needed) is trying to do."
Dan Ewan, vice president of thermal development at Invenergy, said the power plant was disqualified because of delays in the permitting process, and that Invenergy plans to participate in future auctions.