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Over 1.8GW of energy storage clears in ISO New England’s latest Forward Capacity Auction


Results of the 18th Forward Capacity Auction (FCA) held by ISO New England have been filed, with energy storage’s participation having soared in recent years.

The independent system operator (ISO) for the Northeast US region opened the auction on 5 February and then closed it after four rounds of competitive bidding. The auction secures resources that will be available in the 2027-2028 timeframe to help meet peak demand for electricity on the grid.

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The ISO, which serves the six states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine said earlier this month (9 February) that contracts were awarded at US$3.58 per kilowatt-month (preliminary prices).

ISO New England also noted at that time that nearly all capacity supply obligations were awarded to wind, solar PV, energy storage or demand side reduction technologies. A total 31.5GW was awarded, selected from 36.8GW of qualified resources including 4,100MW new-build projects of various technologies.

Finalised results were filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval, the ISO said last week (21 February).

Energy storage took a 6% share of that awarded total, amounting to more than 1,800MW of energy storage. While the majority will be existing facilities, more than 700MW of new build projects won with their bids.

The ISO said in a blog post that five years ago, only 5MW of energy storage cleared the auction, while the 15th auction, procuring resources for the 2024-2025 delivery years three years ago, saw 630MW of battery storage get contracts according to the Clean Energy States Alliance advocacy group and think tank.

While it is not readily apparent who all of the developers behind awarded projects are from the filing, two of the bigger new projects known to have won are Cranberry Point, a 150MW/300MWh BESS in development by Plus Power, along with Medway Grid, a 250MW/500MWh project by Eolian. Developer BlueWave also planned to bid in 200MW to the auction when interviewed by in May last year (Premium access).

Both projects are in Massachusetts and hit the headlines last year due to the zoning dispute they were caught up in, which resulted in the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) stepping in to grant Zoning Law exemptions that took them out of what media in the region described as a “regulatory black hole”.

Energy storage’s awarded share exceeds the 4% slice that solar PV and wind together took, with over 1,250MW of contracts. Aggregated residential solar PV and battery storage systems will also be included among the 2,614MW of demand resources that were awarded contracts.

FCA results can be seen on the ISO New England website.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 6th Energy Storage Summit USA, 19-20 March 2024 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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