New England renewable power to benefit from new rules

The New England area is set to unlock its vast renewable energy potential.

The region's land and ocean winds are plentiful enough to supply nearly a quarter of its power by the end of the decade, if those winds can be tapped.

A federal order issued last Autumn is intended to make it easier to construct transmission lines, costly and controversial projects that are notoriously tough to build.

New England's best winds are in some of its most isolated areas, such as off the coasts and in northern Maine. So potential wind farms there can't reach population centers without miles of high-voltage transmission lines that will cost billions of dollars.

But since the federal order means that building transmission lines isn't all about reliability anymore, planners and ISO New England will focus more than ever on reaching that renewable power, including devising ways to pay for it.

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