Genbright's Solar Assets Shine During First Major Test of New England’s New Power Market Design
On Wednesday, regulators in Massachusetts approved a new solar incentive program known as the SMART program, which stands for Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target. The program was designed to bring an additional 1,600 megawatts of solar projects online in Massachusetts. A significant share of this new solar is likely to be co-located with energy storage projects.
On September 3, 2018, the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE) declared such an event when sudden outages at two large natural gas units combined with higher than forecast power demand resulted in an operating reserve deficiency or scarcity event. In the late afternoon on September 3, the loss of gas supply from the Everett LNG facility due to a power outage that resulted from a distribution line fault triggered an outage at a 1,700 megawatt (MW) natural gas generator in Charlestown, Mass.
At the same time, the day turned out to be hotter and more humid than anticipated across the six state region. The peak temperature and dew point for the daytime hours in Boston were 94 and 73, above a forecast of 89 and 70, while in Hartford the peak temperature and dew point for the daytime hours were 94 and 74, relative to forecasts of 90 and 71. The heat pushed actual demand for power above the demand forecast by over 2,500 MW.
During the scarcity event, Genbright's portfolio of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), including solar and demand response performed well, and based on preliminary reports, is expected to earn positive pay for performance payments. This is despite the fact that the performance interval lasted for over 2.5 hours and lasted well past peak solar production.
In addition to proving the suitability of stand-alone solar for participation in capacity markets under the new Pay for Performance market model, details of the scarcity event suggest that the benefits will be even greater when solar production is managed along with co-located energy storage. This is important because regulators in Massachusetts just approved a long-awaited slate of new incentives for solar and energy storage yesterday as part of the SMART program. SMART, which stands for Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target, was designed to bring an additional 1,600 megawatts of solar projects online in Massachusetts. A significant share of this new solar is likely to be co-located with energy storage projects.
According to Genbright LLC, a company based in Hingham, MA that specializes in managing distributed energy resources using its proprietary RAMP platform, performance data from the scarcity event that occurred on Labor Day provides insights into how solar plus storage projects can be actively managed to perform capacity supply obligations over a long duration event. The implications of this also provide a new perspective on storage and its role in providing reliability when co-located with solar.
“The capacity event in early September provided valuable new information that will help us derive strategies for managing co-located solar and energy storage projects in real time to meet capacity obligations for extended durations,” said Joe Crespo, CEO of Genbright. “For example, these strategies could make it possible to meet our obligations during events that last more than two hours, even when co-locating solar with a battery that only stores two hours of energy.”
The lessons learned during Labor Day’s scarcity event is good news for solar developers and the New England market in general, and demonstrates the increasingly important role that solar, storage and other DERs will play in providing improved resource diversity and reliability to ISO-NE and other ISOs.
About Genbright LLC
Based in Hingham, MA Genbright LLC is a company that specializes in managing distributed energy resources, including solar, storage, demand response and distributed generation, using its proprietary RAMP platform.