Senate Democrats urge grid manager to boost clean power

By Zach Bright | 04/30/2024 06:13 AM EDT

The lawmakers say ISO New England needs to improve grid planning to take greater account of climate concerns and disadvantaged communities.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) speaks during a press conference at the Capitol earlier this year. Francis Chung/POLITICO

New England’s grid operator needs to build more power lines faster and level the playing field for wind and solar energy, several Senate climate hawks wrote in a letter released Monday.

“Too many” of ISO New England’s policies “limit community involvement, stymie comprehensive transmission investment, and prioritize incumbent fossil interests over affordable and reliable clean technologies,” said the letter led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate — also signed Markey’s letter to ISO New England, which oversees the grid for for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.


The Democrats’ message stands in contrast to environmental advocates praising the grid operator for its work trying to carry more clean energy. A Natural Resources Defense Council blog post called it “a model for other regions.”