New England’s proposed capacity market reform would force generators to ‘Be There or Else.’
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ISO New England wants to remake its forward capacity market. As it explains, the FCA falls short of what's really needed to ensure reliability, as the market pays winning bidders only according to their unit "availability," as defined under various technical rules riddled with holes, whereas, as the ISO contends, a better test of true capability would instead measure whether power plants and other resources are actually supplying energy in real time during conditions of scarcity.
The current availability metric, says the ISO, is "deeply flawed."
We've alluded to these complaints already in this column and elsewhere in Fortnightly. A year ago, ISO-NE confirmed that, in examining the dispatch response following the 36 largest electric system contingency events of the last several years, it found that, on average, the response rate for the region's non-hydro resources was less than 60 percent of what was requested. (See, "No Fuel, No Power," April 2013.)
Outage rates are rising. EFORd (equivalent forced outage rate - demand) rose in New England for fossil-fired steam units from about 4.25 percent in 2007 to about 16.5 percent in 2003, and climbed 2.33 times for all generators over the same period.