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Moody's: Massachusetts will outpace New York in efforts to match California's renewable energy target for 2030

Global Credit Research - 06 Apr 2017

New York, April 06, 2017 -- Massachusetts (Aa1 stable) will outpace New York (Aa1 stable) in clean power development as both states seek to emulate California's (Aa3 stable) renewable energy policies, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service. The report examines both states' efforts to ramp up the generation of renewable energy to power their grids, using California's regulatory mandate as a benchmark.

In the second half of 2016, Massachusetts and New York made definitive statements about their sustainability aspirations. In August, Massachusetts passed "An Act to Promote Energy Diversity," which requires utilities to generate at least 2,800 megawatts of clean energy over the next decade. On the same day, New York adopted a Clean Energy Standard, which requires 50% of electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

"Both states have a long way to go to catch up to California, which is well on its way to achieving its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030," says Toby Shea, a vice president and senior credit officer at Moody's. "Emulating California's plan won't be easy for Massachusetts and New York."

Massachusetts will produce more immediate and certain results, according to the report. Its targets are legislatively mandated, and its initiatives are tied to carbon emission reduction goals. The state stands to benefit from several transmission projects aimed at delivering hydroelectric and wind generation from Canada (Aaa stable), Maine (Aa2 stable) and Vermont (Aaa stable).

New York has substantial onshore wind resources, but based on its track record of renewable generation procurement, remains unlikely to achieve its 2030 target. The state would need to procure around 1.9 terawatt-hours per year between 2017 and 2021 to meet its goal, and has averaged approximately 0.78 terawatt-hours annually since 2005.

Renewable development in Massachusetts will place significant downward pressure on the New England wholesale power market. Companies with significant merchant exposure include Dynegy, Inc (B2 stable), Exelon Corporation (Baa2 stable), NextEra Energy (Baa1 stable), Dominion Resources (Baa2 stable) and Calpine Corporation (Ba3 stable).

Similarly, New York's renewable development will depress power prices in the upstate region of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), a credit negative for Empire Generating (B2 negative), Talen's Millennium plant, Dynegy's Independence plant and PSEG Power LLC's (Baa1 stable) Bethlehem Energy Center. The downstate region will not see near-term power price declines due to land and transmission constraints.

Regulated utilities operating in Massachusetts and New York including Eversource Energy (Baa1 stable), Consolidated Edison (A3 stable), National Grid USA (Baa1 stable) and AVANGRID RENEWABLES Holdings, Inc. (Baa1 positive) stand to benefit from building out their renewable operations.

"Unlike the challenges presented for merchant generators, renewable development presents credit positive growth opportunities for some of the largest regulated utilities in both states," says Shea.

The report, "US -- Utilities and Power Companies: Massachusetts and New York Seek to Emulate California's Renewable Progress," is available to Moody's subscribers at:

https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1065521

************************************************************************

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Toby Shea
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Public Project & Infrastructure
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Jim Hempstead
MD - Utilities
Public Project & Infrastructure
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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