The New England Independent System Operator (or ISO) has a seemingly simple job: to keep the lights on, and the power running. But behind this goal are the many hurdles of operating the region’s electric grid. Through the peaks of summer air-conditioning and winter cold snaps, the system must remain always ready for spikes in demand.
With lots of proposals on the table right now, from biomass to wind to hydropower, efforts are underway once again to develop a statewide plan and judge these projects with that broader frame of reference in mind. But it’s not an easy process, taking into account various concerns from the environment to property values to energy costs.