Happy Friday everyone. The weather forecast looks great for what is for many a holiday weekend, the start of school vacation week and of course Patriots Day/Marathon Monday. However, before we kick into “off mode” let’s take a brief look at this week’s energy news.
To western Mass first where there is good news. MassLive reports that Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is nearing an agreement with Holyoke Gas & Electric that would bypass a bottleneck in the region’s network of gas pipelines and end a two-year-old ban on new hookups in Easthampton and Northampton. It might take some time and some new infrastructure to get it done, but once Holyoke has a new way to get gas, Holyoke Gas & Electric would have less need of capacity on the Northampton lateral, freeing up capacity for Columbia to get more gas to Northampton and Easthampton. When and if this happens, it will make many people happy.
Heading north to New Hampshire, the Union Leader reports that more than 100 people, including dozens of [Northern Pass] project opponents, converged for the leadoff hearing for the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, which will decide in July whether to issue the certificate required for the $1.6 billion project. The story concludes with a vocal critic, Jack Savage saying, “The hearing ‘was really a clash of Northern Pass’ marketing and the reality of what the project is.’” Time will tell if Mr. Savage is right, or if the “marketing” does meet the sniff test.
On the energy efficiency front, we have two stories with alerts. One story from Bloomberg notes that lobbyists are working to amend a decades old conservation law that sets minimum efficiency standards for many household and commercial appliances and bars them from being weakened. However, efficiency proponents aren’t backing down, “An average American household spends about $500 less per year on utility bills because of the efficiency gains in our every day appliances,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, a Boston-based organization that organizes energy efficiency proponents to advocate for standards. “Rolling back standards or weakening the law to make it harder to improve standards in the future would lead to more energy waste and hurt consumers.”
The other efficiency story from Seven Days Vermont shows a side-by-side comparison of two boxes of LEDs. Same brand. Same watts. One has the Energy Star label the other doesn’t. They wrote, “One of the packages held four highly energy-efficient, reliable bulbs that had been certified by a third-party lab. The other held four lower-quality, uncertified bulbs. An inferior product, they’d be quicker to fail and more likely to give off the wrong shade of light.” I love Energy Star and always look for the label, but it’s easy to see how a less aware consumer might grab a box and think they’re getting the best bang for their buck when in fact they’re not. Buyer beware! And, all the more reason to keep the Energy Star program around.
That’s it for today. Have a great weekend.
DEC denies permit for Northern Access Pipeline, Olean Times Herald
Students urged to ‘take action now’ on climate change, Cape Cod Times
Proposed Bill Would Halt University of Maine Wind Research Project, Government Technology
Americans used more clean energy in 2016, Science Daily
Trump Once Railed Against Offshore Wind but Is Now Embracing It, MIT Technology Review
City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts switches on second solar power plant, Electric Light & Power
Portsmouth completes two solar energy projects, Seacoastonline.com
Biomass plant to close, The Laconia Daily Sun
Trump Can’t Stop This: Climate Action in the Northeast, Natural Resources Defense Council
State of the Energy Efficiency Industry: The Utility Story, Natural Resources Defense Council
Pownal Selected as First Climate Economy Model Community, vtdigger.org
Nuclear plant owners press lawmakers in Connecticut, other states for subsidies, New Haven Register
States moving to promote clean energy through pro-nuclear policies, Daily Energy Insider
In nuke debate, dueling claims fly, Hartford Business
Questions dominate Vermont Yankee sale debate, Brattleboro Reformer
Pilgrim nuclear plant prepares to refuel, The Patriot Ledger
Interest in 1,500 acre Entergy property heats up, Wicked Local Plymouth
Will Massachusetts Emerge as the Hub of the Microgrid Industry?, Microgrid Knowledge
American energy use, in one diagram, Vox.com
Newport, Rhode Island’s Microgrid Ambitions: Small City, Small State, Big Plans, Microgrid Knowledge
Higher gas prices add to ISO-NE power costs in February, Utility DIVE
Eversource grilled over why the plan isn’t to bury all of Northern Pass, The Union Leader
Northern Pass gets day in court Thursday as committee hearings start, Concord Monitor
Four carbon bills proposed, Vermont Biz
Mass. request boosts northern energy projects, Concord Monitor
At NH House committee hearing, jobs become focus of key energy bill, New Hampshire Business Review
Maine’s Health at Risk from Dirty Air Days, Bangor Daily News
Our Opinion: Eversource rate increase would be bad for business, Berkshire Eagle
William J. Eccleston: Savings overestimated for proposed Burrillville plant, Providence Journal
Help more Mainers use solar power, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
Your View: Maximizing offshore wind’s benefits for Massachusetts, South Coast Today
Massachusetts’ Biggest Utility Seeks Crippling Demand Charges for Customers, Renewable Energy World