Energy News for week ending March 16, 2018

Russians at the switch | Mortally wounded |Clean Peak Standard | What’s in a name

Happy Friday afternoon.

This week brings disconcerting energy news of Russian cyberattacks where hackers had their fingers on the switches at US power plants. According to the story in the New York Times, “The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will…‘We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage,’ said Eric Chien, a security technology director at Symantec, a digital security firm. ‘From what we can see, they were there. They have the ability to shut the power off. All that’s missing is some political motivation,’ Mr. Chien said.”

Earlier in the week, Portland Press Herald wrote about the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s decision to delay its final decision on the Northern Pass Project, “The proposal to build a $950 million power line through western Maine received a major boost on Monday, when a decision by a regulatory board in New Hampshire mortally wounded the project’s competitor…The result is placing new scrutiny on CMP’s plan to build a 145-mile line along a corridor it already owns. The line would run from Beattie Township, on the Canadian border north of Route 27 and Coburn Gore, through Farmington and Jay to Lewiston, where it would connect to the regional electric grid. The line would cross the Kennebec Gorge, a scenic, 10-mile cut in the river traversed each summer by thousands of whitewater rafters. It also would bisect the Appalachian Trail. The project cost would be borne by Massachusetts electricity customers.”

Speaking of Massachusetts, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that “Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday released a $1.4 billion bond bill that would authorize spending on climate change preparedness and environmental protection…The bill includes authorization for $300 million to respond to the impacts of climate change — $170 million to repair dams and seawalls and help coastal communities, and the rest split between grants to communities and implementation of a statewide plan to adapt to climate change.”

Utility Dive noted that one provision of the bill is the creation of a “new Clean Peak Standard for utilities to increase the use of clean energy during high-demand periods that are also carbon intensive…The proposed legislation language would direct the Department of Energy Resource to create a new clean peak standard for all retail electricity suppliers selling electricity to end-use customers. The standard will require all retail electricity suppliers to provide ‘a minimum percentage of kilowatt-hour sales’ from clean peak energy resources, ultimately determined by regulations. The legislation specifies that, ‘to the maximum extent practicable,’ the Clean Peak Standard cannot raise individual customer rates more than $0.005/kWh in the aggregate of any year.”

Last for this week, and to end on a lighter note, is a story from Newhampshire.com which reports that some folks in New Hampshire, Seabrook to be specific, are having a hard time believing that Disney writers weren’t making ties to their community in a movie called “Zombies.” The movie is, “set around a nuclear power plant disaster that creates zombies in a small, suburban town. It’s wildly popular among children and has received good reviews so what’s the problem? The fictional town is named Seabrook.” Seabrook Selectman Aboul Khan said that he’s not “worried about a zombie apocalypse in Seabrook, but used the opportunity to stress the safety of the power plant. ‘We have a very good track record for many years and we do exercises every year with state agencies,’ he said. ‘We are prepared for any kind of accident or any kind of issue that might come.’”

As always you can find events at Northeast Energy News. Have a great weekend.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Northeast Gas Pipeline Buildout Hits Bottleneck in Massachusetts, Natural Gas Intelligence

Scituate is withdrawing their opposition to Invenergy and their support for Burrillville, Uprise RI

Why Is Russian Gas in Boston Harbor?, Wall Street Journal

Lawmakers hear dueling pipeline positions, Hartford Business

From Asthma to Cancer, ‘Blistering’ New Report Details Human Cost of Fracking, EcoWatch

New York Loses Bid to Block Millennium Gas Line Project, Bloomberg Quint

Pipeline Opponents Pleased With Caveats, Valley News

Federal Regulators End Key Tax Benefit for Certain Pipeline Companies, Wall St. Journal

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Storms focus attention on climate change, as Gov. Charlie Baker releases $1.4 billion environmental bond bill, MassLive

Massachusetts governor seeks Clean Peak Standard with $1.4B bond bill, Utility Dive

Push is on for carbon tax in New York, Lockport Journal

Clean energy projects in Albany to get share of $1.4 billion in state money, Albany Business Review

Regional plan could provide local say on renewables, Stowe Reporter

3rd District candidate unveils green-jobs plan, Lowell Sun

State of renewables not what you might think, Rutland Herald

Could FERC Order Put State Clean Energy Policies in Danger?, Greentech Media

Report: Severe weather in Northeast tied to warming Arctic, Cape Cod Times

Clean Energy Is Key to New England’s Fuel Security, Natural Resources Defense Council

Towns tell state leaders to act on climate change. Are they listening?, vtdigger.org

Connecticut renewable energy supporters to push for legislative gains, Litchfield County Times

Climate Change Resolution Adopted In 35 Communities, Vermont Public Radio

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse featured among ‘Voices for 100 percent Renewable Energy’, MassLive.com

The 2018 Community Power State Scorecard, CleanTechnica

Emissions and Dispatch Top Talk at NY Task Force, RTO Insider

NA Markets: Compliance demand re-emerges in California as RGGI awaits next week’s auction, Carbon Pulse

‘Reggie’ states addressing transportation emissions, Yale Climate Connections

 

Wind

Bay State Wind Teams With Massachusetts Energy Storage Company, NA Windpower

Ocean City loses bid to push back offshore wind developments, Delmarvanow.com

Study gauges economic impact of offshore wind, CommonWealth Magazine

Offshore wind backers push New London area as potential hub, theday.com

Report Quantifies Economic Impact Of Vineyard Wind’s Offshore Proposal, North American Windpower

Offshore wind company partners with Red Sox, Cape Cod Times

Vineyard Wind plans workforce development, Barnstable Patriot

Bay State joins permit fast lane, reNews

 

Solar

Worry over solar sprawl spreads across Rhode Island, Providence Journal

Solar-powered brewery donates extra power to senior center, Caledonian Record

US solar forecast ratcheted down as tariffs weigh, The Week

Even under pro-coal President Trump, U.S. solar is doing pretty well, Washington Post

Vermont lodge and bierhall goes solar, Solar Power World

A Push To Expand A Struggling Sector Of Solar Energy In Connecticut, WSHU

Wilton among state leaders in solar technology, Thehour.com

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

A global game changer for energy efficiency investments, Environmental Defense Fund

How an energy-efficient house can become a big wind-powered battery, Treehugger

Efficiency Startup Gets Funding to Cut Energy Use by Buildings, Bloomberg

Green buildings will have to go beyond conserving energy, Popular Science

State Report: Budget Raid On Energy Funds Hurting Connecticut Economy, Hartford Courant

For utilities trying to drive conservation, mixed messages may be best, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

Vermont Yankee deal gives state more financial peace of mind, Vermont Biz

Vermont Yankee sale case will extend into summer, vtdigger.org

Nuclear Community Engagement Experience Takes Place On Saturday in Barnstable, CapeCod.com News

Disney: ‘ZOMBIES’ movie set in power plant town called ‘Seabrook’ a coincidence, NewHampshire.com

Congress Hasn’t Given up on Nuclear Power, Futurism

The quiet fight to finally send nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, Washington Examiner

Nuclear subsidy bill re-engineered as three separate measures, NJSpotlight.com

Interest in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Is Growing. So Are Fears They Aren’t Viable, Greentech Media

 

Electric Vehicles

Electric cars are becoming increasingly greener in the US thanks to a cleaner electric grid, Energy Central

Pennsylvania proposal could bolster EV charging infrastructure, Utility Dive

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says, New York Times

Split FERC approves ISO-NE 2-part capacity market plan, Utility Dive

Powelson ‘very nervous’ about long-term reliability in ISO-NE, Utility Dive

ISO New England real-time price spike leads to increase in oil, hydro generation, Platts

Report Examines Comparatively High Expenses For New England’s Power Grid Operator, New England Public Radio

Lawyer: Site Evaluation Committee won’t decide whether to reconsider Northern Pass rejection until May, Union Leader

Time running short for N. Pass, CommonWealth Magazine

Prospects improve for CMP’s $950 million power line plan, Press Herald

Northern Pass Hydropower Project Again Delayed, ecoRI news

Utility workers travel to restore Cape’s power, Cape Cod Times

State launches probe into utilities’ response to 2 storms, Albany Times Union

7News Investigates: Seeking Power Outage Solutions Underground, WHDH TV

Cryptocurrency Companies to See Electric Rates Rise in NY. Opening for Microgrids?, Microgrid Knowledge

Schneider Electric and REC Solar collaborate on Massachusetts microgrid, Solar Power World

Pennsylvania Microgrid Bill Wins Committee Vote. Heads to House, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

Columnist Stanley Rosenberg: Building our green, clean energy future, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Column: Securing a clean energy future, Gloucester Times

Maine needs new natural gas capacity to control our energy costs, Bangor Daily News

Letter: Thanks to supporters of renewable energy, Bennington Banner

New York Is Moving Aggressively To Harvest Its Offshore Wind, Forbes

Letter: A proposal on the Vermont Yankee sale, Brattleboro Reformer

Yankee candor: A deal to decommission Vermont Yankee is promising, but only if it involves transparency, The Keene Sentinel

Stop pouring money into fusion energy research, Eagle Tribune

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Filed under Climate Change, Electric Grid, Electricity Costs, Natural Gas Pipelines, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, offshore wind

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