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Thread: N.E. Clean Power Connect in Maine - Should we care ?

  1. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Thence Seabrook and Milestone.
    That's all that's left. All other nuclear plants in New England have been decommissioned. Millstone 1, Connecticut Yankee, Yankee Rowe, Yankee Vermont, Yankee Maine, and Pilgrim have all be shut down. Only one coal plant remains. Natural gas is now the predominant source of electricity in New England; better hope we don't have any issues with that!

  2. #167
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    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42716 lists 4 (as of February 2020) operating coal plants. It also graphs the decline of coal power over 2005-2019.

    ...will leave the region with only four operating coal-fired plants: the Merrimack plant (439 MW) and Schiller plant (138 MW), both in New Hampshire, and the Rumford Cogeneration power plant (85 MW) and S.D. Warren Westbrook industrial plant (56 MW), both in Maine.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  3. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=42716 lists 4 (as of February 2020) operating coal plants. It also graphs the decline of coal power over 2005-2019.

    ...will leave the region with only four operating coal-fired plants: the Merrimack plant (439 MW) and Schiller plant (138 MW), both in New Hampshire, and the Rumford Cogeneration power plant (85 MW) and S.D. Warren Westbrook industrial plant (56 MW), both in Maine.

    Tim
    Since that publication, Schiller has been reportedly shut down, leaving Merrimack (Bow) as the last coal plant (I believe both Rumford and Westbrook are biomass enabled now, retaining coal capabilities). Natural gas has filled that void, but prices are skyrocketing.

  4. #169
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Run the line under Champlain.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  5. #170
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Run the line under Champlain.
    It looks like they are going to do that and run the power all the way to NYC (Queens) under the Hudson River.

    https://www.pressrepublican.com/news...66fdc8513.html

  6. #171
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    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 11-23-2021 at 03:09 PM.
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  7. #172
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    This is my traditional source of info. https://www.iso-ne.com/isoexpress/

  8. #173
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    Even nicer! And you gotta love the "isoexpress" name

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  9. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Even nicer! And you gotta love the "isoexpress" name

    Tim
    You should see their Engine Hill dashboard!

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    Does "wood" include the Berlin biomass plant?

  11. #176
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    [QUOTE=rocket21;460945]...leaving Merrimack (Bow) as the last coal plant...

    Don't count on the Bow plant for too much longer; it's effect on the river is pretty bad and pressure against it seems to be mounting and it may not survive its current authorization which I believe runs until 2025... https://www.nhpr.org/nh-news/2021-10...otesters-close
    Add life to your years!

  12. #177
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    Bow was sold to a hedge fund a few years ago by PSNH of NH (Eversource) when they divested their remaining power plants. Part of the deal is the new owner had to agree to run the plants and pay the employees their old Eversource wages and benefits for several years after the sale. Once that clause goes away then I expect the new owners will try to figure out a way to maximize their investment. As others have noted, there is a lot of baseload generation that has gone off line in New England and very little new had gone in, most of it is Natural Gas combined cycle plants. They are very efficient but New England has constricted gas supply. In the winter when it gets cold these natural gas plants are limited on the amount of gas they can buy to what is available. Its a choice between heating houses or generating power and the gas utilities pay a premium to save space in the lines to keep houses heated (AKA "firm" gas). The hedge fund folks are probably guessing that between capacity payments and running the plant in cold weather that they can make enough money to cover their purchase. Note that Bow is one of the more environmentally clean coal power plants due to a very expensive emissions upgrade. Carbon output is directly related to carbon input as fuel but their SO, NOx and mercury emissions should be relatively low compared to the industry. The other hedge is to hope that they can get paid to shut it down by some entity possibly part of cap and trade arrangement. The other alternative is to install some of Bill Gates supported Small Modular nuclear Reactors (SMR) which are intended to repower former coal plants.

  13. #178
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    Some basics on the grid and how CPC and NP fit it. (Warning very long!)

    The “grid” in US is split into 3 grids they are effectively independent from each other with some minimal interconnectivity. The east coast grid is managed by several regional Independent System Operator (ISO). In New England the ISO is ISO New England. ISO NE is connected to the New York ISO (NYISO) with some limited connections to the Quebec Grid run by Hydro Quebec. The ISOs are non utility bodies that are tasked to control the flow of power and create financial incentives meet the electric power demand and maintain system reliability. Please note, they are not tasked with determining how green the power is or encouraging green power generation over non green. They do track renewables as different renewables have different reliabilities that need to be factored in overall system reliability. Renewables tend to be less reliable than conventional so as the number of renewables goes up, system reliability can go down (California is seeing this). So, ISO can “kill” a solar or wind farm but they can’t turn it on if its dark out or the wind is not blowing. In New England there is voluntary Greenhouse Gas initiative REGI to encourage green generation and discourage fossil generation but it operates separately from ISO.

    ISO NE are the traffic cops for the ISO NE area and they make sure that the grid is reliable. All generation installed in the region is “hard wired” with a kill switch from ISO NE and is equipped with data transmission that continuous communicates the status of the generator. Based on the result of daily auctions matching power supply with power demand ISO NE tells which plants to send power into the grid. If the generator didn’t win the auction that day ISO NE disables the signal to the kill switch and the plant can not send power to the grid. They always keep generating capacity ready to run just in case there is shortfall in the system. They pay capacity fees to those standby generating assets to be ready to come on quickly. In some cases, so called “peaker plants” designed to start up quickly (five minutes or less) are built and rarely if ever run. They usually have big jet fuel tank next to them and are hidden away in or near urban areas for predominately disasters when the regional transmission grid has problems. They also may be run during periods of very high-power demand.

    The ISO also directs the operations of the regional transmission lines that move power around. Moving power long distances is not free, there is resistance in the transmission lines and every one has a maximum rating. The lines heat up so much that they stretch and can eventually short out on vegetation. New power plants have tended to move out into lower population areas and they are larger. The existing transmission system was not designed for this and therefore ISO has to play a balancing act to move as much power as they can without knocking lines out as if they trip out on too much power flow than the power tries to shift to other lines which can overload. This can lead to Cascade trip event and an entire region can trip. Once the grid goes down it takes a long time to get it going again. ISO NE is always looking at the transmission grid predicting where there are limitations and they have the legal right to demand a system upgrade in areas with shortfalls. They also are allowed to split the costs of upgrading to everyone on the regional grid. When SE CT has reliability issues related to several factors everyone on the grid in New England had to pay for a part of the upgrade. Maine had major issues moving power east to west and its primary east west line was upgraded several years ago allowing CPC to tie into it in Lewiston. If there are limits on the transmission lines ISO may slap on congestion fees to reduce power flow or in some cases, they can curtail it. Northern NH is in that position that there is far more renewable generation in the area than can be sent to the grid. There is only one power cable crossing the AT just south of South Kinsman and that is it and its too small. The special permit it operates on from the WMNF limits its capacity to essential power demand not sending power to other areas for a profit. More often than not the windfarm and biomass plant are partially limited on how much power they can sell.

    ISO NE and the regional transmission grid is always evolving to supply more power and make sure its reliable, the down side is its expensive to move power around the grid. Thus the concept of merchant power lines comes up. HQ has the power capacity at or near the border so they went out to several entities for proposals to build a private power line exclusively to move their branded green power to Mass. Several proposals were made and they picked the cheapest one that could be build quickly. Once built no one else can move power over the line unless HQ allows it. This allows them to bypass the ISO NE grid, so they do not pay transmission or congestion costs until the hook onto the grid. Mass is effectively guaranteeing they will buy the so called green power so for the company that builds the line and HQ is close to a guaranteed profit in the billions for the indefinite future. Sure, there could be Black Swans that could happen like viable cheap fusion power but HQ has several orders of magnitude of potential generation on government owned land if they have a market for it. And HQ is so big that they effectively control the elections of the people who run the government. Merchant lines are not great for ISO NE as they only have limited control or the merchant line where it hooks to the grid. Normal transmission lines are built and operated by regulated utilities and they are limited on how much return they can make so the potential profit to HQ sending the power over the regular grid is far less. Unless ISO decides they are needed for system reliability and spreads the costs out over the entire ISO NE grid these new public lines rarely get built. That leads to a lot of wind in Northern and eastern Maine along with western Maine along the Quebec border, Northern NH and the NE kingdom VT being kept out of New England power grid as there is not enough power line capacity to carry the potential supply.

    What to do about regional power generation in New England to replace all the retirements? Well that is someone else’s problem. Power companies used to build power plants because they were guaranteed a profit as public utilities. They built plenty of plants to the point where they may have had surplus as every dollar spent was a guaranteed profit. So back in the Reagan era various states decided to let the private market generate power as competition would drive the prices down. It did on occasion but the big costs and risks meant the money went to projects that has unrealistic expectations. Several large combined cycle gas plants got handed back to banks and banks really do not like to run power plants. So they do not really want to finance private anymore. There is no government power like TVA in New England so the general issue that it is not of enough of crisis to get anything politically done. ISO NE has been doing studies but no one is really listening. One of them is cold winter with a shortage of natural gas.

    So for the paranoid move on up to Coos county NH, we have more renewable power capacity than we can export and if the ISO New England grid goes down northern NH can still run. (During the great east cost black out in the sixties Coos county stayed up and running). If you don’t want to move then there is lot to be said for PV panels and a Lithium battery with a hybrid inverter may be good investment as power reliability in New England is going to be tough to maintain.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 11-24-2021 at 04:05 PM.

  14. #179
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Some basics on the grid and how CPC and NP fit it. (Warning very long!)

    The “grid” in US is split into 3 grids they are effectively independent from each other with some minimal interconnectivity. The east coast grid is managed by several regional Independent System Operator (ISO). In New England the ISO is ISO New England. ISO NE is connected to the New York ISO (NYISO) with some limited connections to the Quebec Grid run by Hydro Quebec. The ISOs are non utility bodies that are tasked to control the flow of power and create financial incentives meet the electric power demand and maintain system reliability. Please note, they are not tasked with determining how green the power is or encouraging green power generation over non green. They do track renewables as different renewables have different reliabilities that need to be factored in overall system reliability. Renewables tend to be less reliable than conventional so as the number of renewables goes up, system reliability can go down (California is seeing this). So, ISO can “kill” a solar or wind farm but they can’t turn it on if its dark out or the wind is not blowing. In New England there is voluntary Greenhouse Gas initiative REGI to encourage green generation and discourage fossil generation but it operates separately from ISO.

    ISO NE are the traffic cops for the ISO NE area and they make sure that the grid is reliable. All generation installed in the region is “hard wired” with a kill switch from ISO NE and is equipped with data transmission that continuous communicates the status of the generator. Based on the result of daily auctions matching power supply with power demand ISO NE tells which plants to send power into the grid. If the generator didn’t win the auction that day ISO NE disables the signal to the kill switch and the plant can not send power to the grid. They always keep generating capacity ready to run just in case there is shortfall in the system. They pay capacity fees to those standby generating assets to be ready to come on quickly. In some cases, so called “peaker plants” designed to start up quickly (five minutes or less) are built and rarely if ever run. They usually have big jet fuel tank next to them and are hidden away in or near urban areas for predominately disasters when the regional transmission grid has problems. They also may be run during periods of very high-power demand.

    The ISO also directs the operations of the regional transmission lines that move power around. Moving power long distances is not free, there is resistance in the transmission lines and every one has a maximum rating. The lines heat up so much that they stretch and can eventually short out on vegetation. New power plants have tended to move out into lower population areas and they are larger. The existing transmission system was not designed for this and therefore ISO has to play a balancing act to move as much power as they can without knocking lines out as if they trip out on too much power flow than the power tries to shift to other lines which can overload. This can lead to Cascade trip event and an entire region can trip. Once the grid goes down it takes a long time to get it going again. ISO NE is always looking at the transmission grid predicting where there are limitations and they have the legal right to demand a system upgrade in areas with shortfalls. They also are allowed to split the costs of upgrading to everyone on the regional grid. When SE CT has reliability issues related to several factors everyone on the grid in New England had to pay for a part of the upgrade. Maine had major issues moving power east to west and its primary east west line was upgraded several years ago allowing CPC to tie into it in Lewiston. If there are limits on the transmission lines ISO may slap on congestion fees to reduce power flow or in some cases, they can curtail it. Northern NH is in that position that there is far more renewable generation in the area than can be sent to the grid. There is only one power cable crossing the AT just south of South Kinsman and that is it and its too small. The special permit it operates on from the WMNF limits its capacity to essential power demand not sending power to other areas for a profit. More often than not the windfarm and biomass plant are partially limited on how much power they can sell.

    ISO NE and the regional transmission grid is always evolving to supply more power and make sure its reliable, the down side is its expensive to move power around the grid. Thus the concept of merchant power lines comes up. HQ has the power capacity at or near the border so they went out to several entities for proposals to build a private power line exclusively to move their branded green power to Mass. Several proposals were made and they picked the cheapest one that could be build quickly. Once built no one else can move power over the line unless HQ allows it. This allows them to bypass the ISO NE grid, so they do not pay transmission or congestion costs until the hook onto the grid. Mass is effectively guaranteeing they will buy the so called green power so for the company that builds the line and HQ is close to a guaranteed profit in the billions for the indefinite future. Sure, there could be Black Swans that could happen like viable cheap fusion power but HQ has several orders of magnitude of potential generation on government owned land if they have a market for it. And HQ is so big that they effectively control the elections of the people who run the government. Merchant lines are not great for ISO NE as they only have limited control or the merchant line where it hooks to the grid. Normal transmission lines are built and operated by regulated utilities and they are limited on how much return they can make so the potential profit to HQ sending the power over the regular grid is far less. Unless ISO decides they are needed for system reliability and spreads the costs out over the entire ISO NE grid these new public lines rarely get built. That leads to a lot of wind in Northern and eastern Maine along with western Maine along the Quebec border, Northern NH and the NE kingdom VT being kept out of New England power grid as there is not enough power line capacity to carry the potential supply.

    What to do about regional power generation in New England to replace all the retirements? Well that is someone else’s problem. Power companies used to build power plants because they were guaranteed a profit as public utilities. They built plenty of plants to the point where they may have had surplus as every dollar spent was a guaranteed profit. So back in the Reagan era various states decided to let the private market generate power as competition would drive the prices down. It did on occasion but the big costs and risks meant the money went to projects that has unrealistic expectations. Several large combined cycle gas plants got handed back to banks and banks really do not like to run power plants. So they do not really want to finance private anymore. There is no government power like TVA in New England so the general issue that it is not of enough of crisis to get anything politically done. ISO NE has been doing studies but no one is really listening. One of them is cold winter with a shortage of natural gas.

    So for the paranoid move on up to Coos county NH, we have more renewable power capacity than we can export and if the ISO New England grid goes down northern NH can still run. (During the great east cost black out in the sixties Coos county stayed up and running). If you don’t want to move then there is lot to be said for PV panels and a Lithium battery with a hybrid inverter may be good investment as power reliability in New England is going to be tough to maintain.
    Well explained. Good info.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  15. #180
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    Yes, thanks for that perspective, PB. I am sure the issues are super-complicated and that is just scratching the service. That is why it is so hard as a voter to make decisions. It's laughable why anyone would listen to sound bites in a political ad. Heck, I bet we'd need a 200 page slide deck to have a chance at understanding how the energy grid fits together and I bet when the dust settles there is still no perfect answer. But unfortunately everyone wants us to make binary decisions.

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