National Grid has submitted its Electric Sector Modernization Plan (ESMP) to the Grid Modernization Advisory Council (GMAC). The "Future Grid Plan" highlights investments required in the local electric distribution system over the next five years, and more, to meet the Commonwealth's climate change, clean energy and equity goals as established in the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan.
The plan outlines a path designed to expand and upgrade the current electric distribution grid, ensure reliability, enable increased electrification, empower smart customer choices and transition from a fossil-based economy.
"With electric peak demand expected to double over the next 25 years, driven by substantial growth in the use of electric heating and transportation, now is the time to build a future grid that is smarter, stronger and cleaner,” said Steve Woerner, president, National Grid, New England.
The company's plan provides details on the broad areas of investment and their role in building a clean energy future that empowers customers to make clean energy choices for themselves; create a ready, reliable and more resilient grid capable of withstanding more extreme weather and evolving threats; leverages innovation, drives efficiency, and supports greater system flexibility; and enables an equitable energy future for all.
The utility anticipates an investment worth $2 billion in network infrastructure, technology and platforms and community programs by 2028 to "build a clean energy future."
The investments are expected to have an average annual bill impact of about 2% over the first investment period. Owing to this, the customers and communities across Massachusetts will generate an incremental economic activity of $1.4 billion and 11,000 full- and part-time jobs by 2030; enable an additional 4 GW of capacity by 2035, enough to support an additional 1.1 million electric vehicles and 750,000 electric heat pumps; upgrade many feeders to enable the connection of more clean, distributed energy resources and improve local air quality due to electrification.
National Grid has proposed a new Equity and Environmental Justice Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Framework and a joint Community Engagement Stakeholder Advisory Council with the state's other electric distribution companies to empower communications and give more agency to communities to address historic inequities.
It has also suggested to improve its existing Workforce Development Program to train the next generation of electric line worker from the different communities and expand partnerships to reach, educate and engage members of communities in opportunities created by the clean energy transition.
The plan was built on National Grid’s previous investments and actions taken to deliver clean, reliable, affordable electricity for all customers. These included maintaining system wide reliability at 99.9%, connecting 200 MW of distributed energy resources in 2022, for a total more than 2 GW connected to the system, supporting the installation of 10,000 heat pumps through Mass Save with a goal of another 21,000 by 2024 and enabling the installation of more than 1,800 electric vehicle chargers, with another 32,000 in the future.