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Newly Announced Agreement on Electricity Transmission Moves Northeastern States Toward Enhanced Grid Reliability

Northeast States Collaborative on Interregional Transmission is the first effort of its kind. Next steps include a strategic action plan for promoting interregional transmission projects.

(HARTFORD) - Connecticut today joined a total of 10 Northeast states in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a framework for coordinating their activities to improve interregional transmission planning and development, which will enhance grid reliability and accelerate the clean energy transition. Last year, a group of Northeast states led a request to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to convene and support a multi-state initiative, the Northeast States Collaborative on Interregional Transmission, in a first-in-the-nation effort to explore mutually beneficial opportunities to increase the flow of electricity between three different planning regions in the Northeast and assess offshore wind infrastructure needs and solutions. The MOU was signed by Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

“Connecticut is pleased to join our sister Northeast states in this groundbreaking initiative to work toward a cleaner, more affordable, more reliable electricity grid,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “The Northeast shares an interconnected grid and it’s essential that we work together to meet our energy needs, building on our region’s long and productive history of cooperation. Improved transmission of electricity means a reduced likelihood of service interruptions and lower costs for consumers through better access to clean, efficient and competitive supply alternatives.” 

The multi-state group has been working with DOE over the past year to develop the structure and scope of activities for the Collaborative. Through this MOU, the Collaborative sets forth its agreement to work together on interregional transmission infrastructure and establishes mechanisms for sharing information. Enhancing transmission ties between regions lowers costs for consumers through increased access to lower-priced energy and bolsters reliability during periods of extreme weather and system stress.

The Collaborative also announced today plans to produce a strategic action plan for promoting the development of interregional transmission projects for offshore wind resources to be harnessed off the Northeast coast and delivered to communities as clean, reliable power. The action plan would include identification of barriers to such projects and actionable options for addressing them. The Collaborative intends to provide opportunities for external engagement as part of the development of a plan. The states would also coordinate on technical standards for offshore wind transmission equipment to ensure future flexibility and interoperability as projects come on-line in different locations and at different times, preserving the ability to interconnect regions as the industry matures. 

“As more clean energy comes online in Maine to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, stabilize energy costs, and grow our economy, investments in transmission planning and regional coordination are essential,” said Dan Burgess, Director of the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. “Maine’s participation in the Collaborative will allow the state to engage in important regional transmission planning to ensure reliable, affordable, clean power is delivered to Maine people and businesses.”

"We're excited to enhance our regional relationships around transmission capacity throughout the Northeast," said Maryland Energy Administration Director Paul G. Pinsky. "This cooperative effort around transmission solutions will allow Maryland to progress towards its ambitious carbon pollution reduction and offshore wind energy goals in a more efficient and cost-effective manner."

"As we face down the challenge of climate change, we know we cannot tackle this threat as individual states,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Regional and interregional collaboration is a top priority of the Healey-Driscoll Administration. We’re proud to see our ten states working together like never before. Through partnerships like this Collaborative, we will be able to advance more cost-effective transmission projects for the residents of the Northeast.” 

“Now more than ever, our electric grid serves as the foundation from which we will continue to build our clean energy future,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) President Christine Guhl-Sadovy. “As we continue to grow our burgeoning offshore wind industry – while capitalizing on its significant environmental and economic benefits – we will also continue to collaborate with our regional partners to build a transmission network that is increasingly more reliable and resilient.”

Rory M. Christian, CEO of the New York State Department of Public Service, said, “This new Collaborative will be an important tool to help develop interregional transmission projects for offshore wind resources. Harnessed off the Northeast coast and delivered to communities as clean, reliable power, they will play a key role in meeting the requirements of the CLCPA and reducing emissions.”

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