In response, CLF said ISO has been wrong before and is wrong this time.
“ISO previously found that the obsolete Salem Harbor Station coal station was needed for reliability before being vetoed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission” in 2010, CLF Vice President N. Jonathan Peress wrote in an email.
The federal agency overruled ISO three years ago, he said, in response to a CLF challenge.
The regional grid operator appeared to answer that argument in its filing. The decision ISO made last January, when it accepted a proposal by Footprint Power to build a new plant, was, Hepper stated, “supported by a final order” by the federal agency.
“Therefore, the court should disregard CLF’s claim that the ISO has not ‘concluded that an electrical capacity shortage is likely to occur’ without Footprint,” Hepper stated. Footprint, he said, “is needed.”
CLF said it has taken on this fight because the state has a legal obligation to comply with the 2008 Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act, which calls for steep reductions in carbon emissions through 2050. The organization argues that Footprint has not proved that it can meet those tough new standards.
“CLF is focused on ensuring that the decision to build this, or any new power plant, is made in compliance with the law and as the Global Warming Solutions Act requires, with full consideration of the climate and other environmental impacts it will have over its lifespan,” said Peress.
“Shortcutting that process is not only against the law, but it sets a terrible precedent for a state that proposes to lead the nation on climate. We will not let fear-mongering about brownouts, nor Footprint’s self-interest in fast-tracking the project, deter us from getting due process.”
While the environmental group and others have said that ISO has many options available to ensure the lights stay on, ISO said its options are limited.