Labor, clean energy, public interest, operator, and utility stakeholders shared regional energy grid priorities at Boston roundtable hosted by Senator Markey

Discussion Draft Bill Text (PDF)

Senator Markey and other officials at a Grid roundtable

Boston (May 31, 2024) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, today held a roundtable discussion in Boston with utility, renewable energy, community, and labor stakeholders on regional energy grid priorities. Senator Markey discussed positive recent actions from the regional grid operator and utilities, as well as the need for further movement on governance, transmission, technologies, labor, and equity within the region’s electricity market to unleash the clean and affordable energy revolution.

Senator Markey also announced a new discussion draft, the BETTER Grid Operator Act, to promote public engagement, transparency, and good governance within regional grid operators, transmission planning regions, and electricity marketplaces.

This roundtable follows Senator Markey’s letter to Independent Service Operator-New England (ISO-NE), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), which called on the grid operator to improve its governance and transparency policies, better plan for new transmission capacity, and further address market rules that historically favor fossil fuels. 

“Good governance can help increase efficiency and ensure customers don’t get stuck with onerous costs. That’s why I introduced my CHARGE Act, which provides a roadmap to proactively plan for and build the grid we need, and fought hard for clean energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as grid investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The BETTER Grid Operators Act, which I released today as a discussion draft, would support transparency and good governance in grid operations throughout the country. Together, we can continue to make progress toward a grid that includes everyone, works for everyone, and supports a livable future,” said Senator Markey.

"The community leaders I work with across the region have run into roadblocks and frustrations around ISO-NE's lack of transparency and accountability time and time again. We're grateful to Senator Markey for continuing to lead the charge for better governance of our regional electric grid. We know that our grid operator has room for improvement and that this energy transition must be an all-hands-on-deck undertaking—there are countless frontline leaders who are clamoring for an opportunity to help vision and realize the grid of the future," said Mireille Bejjani, facilitator of the Fix the Grid Campaign.

“Northeast Public Power thanks Senator Markey for his leadership, and including the voice of consumer-owned utilities in the discussion of a clean energy future,” said Mike Hyland, Executive Director of the Northeast Public Power Association. 

“Together, we can create an energy transition that prioritizes fairness, inclusivity, and community well-being. IBEW L.U. 103 is proud to have Senator Markey champion working people. Unions play a critical role in shaping the future of our energy landscape. As we navigate decisions related to the grid and the transition to cleaner energy sources, it’s essential to recognize that companies alone should not monopolize the conversation. Companies failing to align with basic values of providing safety for working people, equitable careers, and providing family-sustaining wages should not be our business partners. When decisions impact the grid and energy systems, workers—those who operate and maintain these critical infrastructures—must have a voice. Their insights, experiences, and concerns are invaluable,” said Renee Dozier, Business Agent at IBEW Local Union 103.

Senator Markey has long been a champion of much-needed grid modernization. In May 2023, he, along with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), wrote to ISO-NE stressing that the grid operator must “address issues of governance with increased accountability and transparency, strategically build out transmission capacity, and reshape the ISO-NE market structures that have a history of unfairly subsidizing existing fossil fuel generation.” In July 2023, Senator Markey and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Greg Casar (TX-35) led the reintroduction of the CHARGE Act, which contains several key provisions for expanding transmission and critical grid infrastructure to improve reliability, lower costs for ratepayers, and spur clean energy innovation. In April 2022, Senator Markey led a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging it to reject ISO-NE’s proposal to delay the elimination of the minimum offer price rule (MOPR), which created an artificial barrier to entry to capacity markets for renewable generation.

To provide feedback on the discussion draft of the BETTER Grid Operators Act, click here, and select “Energy” from the dropdown menu.