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Our Energy Grid Needs to Change

As the fight against climate change heats up, many noble environmental organizations are stepping up to help educate people and pressure politicians to take action. However, there are established organizations that work to prop up the coal and gas industries instead of helping us progress towards 100% renewable energy. One of notoriety is an entity called the Independent Systems Operator-New England (ISO-NE). 

ISO-NE is an entity that runs the New England power grid. They market themselves as neutral competitors in the energy market. They have accomplished this by lobbying state governments to set policy that determines what kinds of sources New England’s electricity comes from. Recently though, ISO-NE has shown that they do not support the climate and environmental goals of the region’s governments. This is in large part thanks to many different members of the New Hampshire state legislature who wrote directly to ISO-NE calling them out on their contradictions. 

One such contradiction is how ISO-NE has used “Forward Capacity Payments” to subsidize fossil fuels on the grid. The way in which ISO-NE gets around this hypocrisy is by framing it as “grid reliability”. This kind of manipulative messaging is how ISO-NE sells dirty energy as something that is cheaper when in fact it is not. ISO-NE was founded in the era of coal and oil; a system not designed to support sustainable alternatives. They frame their grid model as “reliable” when in reality it is merely a method used to prop up fossil and discredit green energy alternatives. 

 ISO-NE has also been using its political influence to prop up other coal plants across New England while maintaining a neutral facade. One coal plant in New Hampshire is the Merrimack Generating Station (MGS) in Bow, New Hampshire. Thanks in large part to political influence by ISO-NE, MGS received $50 Million in subsidies in 2018 alone in order to keep their dirty climate changing emissions pouring into the atmosphere and poisoning those who live nearby. ISO-NE has directly assisted MGS’s pollution practices by committing tens of millions of dollars that will help keep powering MGS for the next several years and worsen the effects of the climate crisis.

These kinds of dirty practices by ISO-NE prove that they are not neutral and against renewable energy. They are actively choosing to support burning coal with the money from all of the New Hampshire residents who pay electric bills. As the fight to shut down Merrimack Station prolongs, it is important that we expose ISO-NE for supporting climate changing fossil fuel plants in order to convert New Hampshire to green energy and prevent other coal plants from being implemented to pollute the atmosphere.

Here are two things YOU can do to help us shut down this coal plant:

1. Sign this petition to call on ISO-NE (our energy grid operators) to phase out fossil fuels and bring about a just and democratic energy grid with clean and renewable energy.

2. Submit Public Comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by 4/12, telling them to oppose subsidies for fossil fuel plants and the coal plant in Bow.

  • Written by David Sanok

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