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Role of Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements in Fostering Development of Wind Energy Projects in New England
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) retained Synapse to review, from a public policy perspective, the merits of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) between developers of wind power projects and providers of retail electric supply service (“load serving entities” or LSEs) in restructured electric markets. This review found that long-term PPAs encourage the development and/or expansion of wind power projects. Using Massachusetts as a case study, Synapse found that long-term PPAs provide several important benefits to customers of the contracting LSEs in particular, and to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Commonwealth) in general. The benefits of the PPAs to the customers of the contracting LSEs include mitigation of price volatility, mitigation of future increases in prices and reduction in the cost of RPS compliance reflected in those prices. In addition, because long-term PPAs encourage the development and/or expansion of wind power projects, they provide additional benefits to the customers of the contracting LSEs, and to the Commonwealth in general, in the form of reductions in dependence on natural gas, increased generation diversity, and reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide.