Energy News for week ending September 15, 2017

What’s old is new | Millstone deal struck | It’s electric!

Happy Friday afternoon.

Some cool news this week from the folks at MIT who looked back in time – over 3 millennia – to find a potential solution to energy storage challenges. According to the article on Curbed.com, MIT researchers have reinvented firebricks, a Bronze-Age technology created by the Hittites in the 17th century BC. Firebricks were designed to retain heat for long periods of time. The MIT team’s Firebrick Resistance-heated Energy Storage (FIRES) system stores thermal energy (heat) in firebricks and later converts the energy back into electricity at about 1/40th the price of putting it into batteries. As the article notes, it could be a game changer for renewables.

According to the CT Mirror, the Connecticut General Assembly and the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have agreed in principle on bipartisan legislation authorizing state energy officials to take measures to stabilize the profitability of New England’s largest power plant, the Millstone nuclear station in Waterford. The Hartford Courant reported Friday afternoon that the Senate approved the measure which now awaits House action. The new proposal does not include a fee paid by Millstone’s parent company Dominion Energy.

In honor of the upcoming AltWheels event we have section on EV news. According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, electric vehicle ownership is rising in Massachusetts. They cite data from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection that shows the number of electric vehicles in the state has grown from 782 as of July 31, 2013, to 3,770 as of March 31, 2017. The number of plug-in hybrids, which can also utilize gasoline, has increased from 1,034 to 5,701 during that time frame. There is still a long way to go, but it’s a huge leap in numbers from the days yours truly spent promoting DOER’s EV program in the mid-late 90s.

On the same topic, The Huffington Post asks, Should Utilities Build Charging Stations For Electric Cars? Some arguments for and against are that, “Building more charging stations could help alleviate ‘range anxiety,’ the fear of running out of charge with no station in sight, and therefore stimulate sales of the clean-air-friendly cars. But in some states, officials say that letting the utility industry build more stations would force all electricity consumers to pay for a service that only a few, relatively affluent, people will use.” Hmmm. The article does contain a lot more detail on the pros and cons. It’s worth a read.

Have a great weekend.

Natural Gas/Pipeline

Feds overrule New York’s natural gas pipeline permit denial, Fox Business

10 arrested in pipeline protest at Tennessee Gas Co. headquarters in Sandisfield, Berkshire Eagle

Local officials seeking to stop gas leaks, MetroWest Daily News

Reliance on natural gas expected to grow, CommonWealth Magazine

Tennessee Gas Pipeline opponents plan flotilla on Lower Spectacle Pond, Berkshire Eagle

Pipeline maintenance cuts path through quiet neighborhood in Lynnfield, ItemLive

Climate Change

Climate change did not “cause” Harvey or Irma, but it’s a huge part of the story, Vox.com

Renewables

MIT turns to millennia-old tech for renewable energy storage, Curbed.com

Agency: Turbines could spin during bird migrations, Cape Cod Times

Family donates solar power systems to 8 nonprofits, Going Green

Cost of U.S. Solar Drops 75 percent in Six Years, Ahead of Federal Goal, YaleEnvironment360

CT greenlights major renewable projects, Hartford Business Journal

Massachusetts business coalition seeks steeper renewable energy standard, Electric Light and Power

The New 1,600 Megawatt Solar Program For Massachusetts Really Is SMART, Clean Technica

Eversource Building Solar Power Sites In Western Mass., WAMC

Solar project planned for Fitchburg site with history of energy production, Worcester Telegram

Cohasset’s new solar array officially open, Patriot Ledger

Farms that grow crops and solar power together, Greenfield Recorder

Maine cities, towns hope to pump up demand for air-sourced heat, The Forecaster

Stars Aligning for Clean Energy in the State…and NH Sustainable Energy Association is Helping Make it Happen, Keene Sentinel

Energy Efficiency

Mortgage Loans Still a Missing Link to Energy Efficiency Growth, Energy Collective

The Suburb of the Future, Almost Here, New York Times

Nuclear

Senate Approves Millstone Aid, Bill Awaits House Action, Hartford Courant

Deal struck on stabilizing profits of Millstone nuclear station, CT Mirror

Pilgrim addresses deteriorating protective panels, Energy Central

Activist posts billboard warning about Seabrook nuclear plant, Ipswich Chronicle

Planners look to future of VY site, Brattleboro Reformer

EVs

Electric vehicle ownership rising in the state, MetroWest Daily News

Should Utilities Build Charging Stations For Electric Cars?, Huffington Post

R.I., 6 other states face decision on plug-in cars, Providence Journal

Electric car dream collides with reality on profits, Boston Business Journal (subscriber article)

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

ISO-NE Visits Vermont to Discuss Tx Planning, RTO Insider

Power Plant Lawsuit Worries Town Of Sandwich, The Sandwich Enterprise

CMP, Gas Companies & Solar Proponents Battle Over Energy Policy, The Free Press

Utilities see benefits in energy storage, even without mandates, Utility Dive

No Fish Story. Tiny Island Lands Big Catch with Microgrid, Microgrid Knowledge

Northern Pass Spokesman Says ‘End in Sight,’ As SEC Pushes Back Decision, NHPR

U.S. Court Allows Suit Alleging ExxonMobil’s Everett Tank Farm Is A Hazard To Proceed, WGBH

CMP & Others Bidding for New Transmission Lines Across Maine, The Free Press

As Brayton Point hits the market, golf course, industrial park among pitches, Herald News

Pass rep questioned on whether project will affect scenic resources, Union Leader

Wellesley no longer at odds over Clean Energy Standard regulations, Wicked Local Wellesley

Baker Stepping Up Emissions Strategy With Focus On Transportation, Banker & Tradesman (subscriber article)

Opinion

New England’s power grid operator is biased, CommonWealth Magazine

Energy efficiency benefits NH businesses, NHBR

Kathy Sullivan: Northern Pass is not ready for prime time, Union Leader

Eversource’s solar proposal needs to go, CommonWealth Magazine

A Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Moment for Natural Gas in NH, IndepthNH

Karen Glitman: Efficiency Vermont’s listening tour, VT Digger

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Filed under Natural Gas Pipelines, Renewables, Vermont Yankee Closing

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