Energy News for week ending March 30, 2018

We’re on to Maine | Shut it down | A look inside

Happy Friday afternoon.

The big news this week, as Bill Belichick might say, is “We’re on to Maine.” In a succinctly worded announcement on the Massachusetts Clean Energy website, the new direction for the clean energy procurement went from Eversource’s Northern Pass project to Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect 100% Hydro project. The announcement read in part, “The Electric Distributions Companies are in the process of concluding contract negotiations with the New England Clean Energy Connect 100% Hydro project (“NECEC Hydro”) and intend to execute agreements with NECEC Hydro for submittal to the Department of Public Utilities, assuming negotiations are concluded successfully.” For your reading enjoyment, we have included a whole section of stories related to this news.

But even before the Clean Energy Connect news broke, the Press Herald reported that new opposition is “ramping up” to CMP’s project. Tux Turkel writes, “A trio of companies, (Calpine Corp., Dynegy Inc., and Bucksport Generation LLC) which together own one-third of Maine’s generating capacity, say subsidized power from Canada could upend New England’s competitive, wholesale electric market and make some existing power plants in Maine too costly to run when they’re needed. They also say a big slug of power from Hydro-Quebec over a high-voltage, direct current line will make it technically difficult for new Maine-based wind and solar to connect to the region’s electric grid.

Normally when you hear, “shut it down” in the energy industry, it usually comes from anti-nuclear or anti-gas protesters. But this week it was Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey who is aiming to shut down the residential competitive supply market. According to a story on WGBH News by Colin Young of the State House News Service, “Electric customers in Massachusetts who switched to a competitive electric supplier paid $176.8 million more than they would have had they stayed with their utility company from July 2015 to June 2017, the two-year period during which Healey’s office was investigating the industry, her office announced…Healey said she plans to work with the Legislature, the Department of Public Utilities and the energy industry “to close down the market for individual residential competitive electric supply in Massachusetts.”

I have to say, as someone who has hung up on countless suppliers, had debates at my front door with electric supply salespersons, and counseled volunteers working with the elderly who have switched suppliers multiple times and faced huge penalties – at a minimum something needs to be done to reign in deceptive practices and to get the bad actors out of the game. The good news is that AG Healey already did that with Viridian, as was reported in the Boston Globe “An electricity supplier will pay $5 million to settle claims of deceptive marketing and sales tactics that resulted in consumers being overcharged, according to state Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. In addition to the settlement payout announced Wednesday, Viridian Energy LLC of Norwalk, Conn., agreed it would not market its electricity supply door-to-door in Massachusetts for the next two years and that it would change some of its marketing methods.” Hear, Hear!

Last for this week is a recently released video from ISO New England that “takes you inside the ISO, showcasing how the grid operator keeps the lights on across New England – today and in the future. Shot at the ISO offices and throughout New England, the video looks at the transformation occurring in New England, as the region transitions from a grid powered by oil and coal plants to one more reliant on renewable energy.”

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

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

It’s the No. 1 Power Source, but Natural Gas Faces Headwinds, New York Times

State Lawmaker Secretly Sends Constituent’s Emails to Gas Pipeline Lobbyist, (MA) Huffington Post

National Grid proposes gas line along bike path, Glens Falls Post-Star

Natural gas expansion project starts in April, New Canaan Advertiser

Judge rules civil disobedience a ‘necessity’ to prevent climate change, ThinkProgress

West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline in Boston Criminal Trial Downgraded, Patch.com

Natural Gas Act preempts local efforts to preclude construction of compressor station, Lexology

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Bill Adds Wood to RI’s Renewable-Energy Portfolio, ecoRI news

New Jersey foresees RGGI re-entry in 2019, Carbon Pulse

Massachusetts announces funding for woodstove rebate program, Biomass Magazine

Trump to allow more car pollution. But by how much?, EandE News

Walsh: Despite cost, city must stem climate change tide, Boston Herald

Renewables or Nuclear? A New Front in the Academic War Over Decarbonization, Greentech Media

 

Wind

800 Megawatt Bay State Wind US Offshore Project Partners To Combine Energy Storage, CleanTechnica

Is Offshore Wind a Better Deal With Batteries?, Greentech Media

Deepwater commits to making foundations in Massachusetts, Recharge

Hopkinton residents receive letter from wind company offering payments on electric bills, Watertown (NY) Daily News

Deepwater’s Offshore Wind Plans Could Revolutionize Mass. Workforce and Offshore Wind Industry, Renewable Energy World

Deepwater Wind narrows locations to New Bedford, Fall River or Somerset, South Coast Today

Vineyard Wind to do 3rd round of marine surveys, South Coast Today

BOEM seeks public comment on proposed offshore Massachusetts wind farm, Windpower Engineering and Development

Governor looking to kill wind power, Sun Journal

 

Solar

Solar facility proposed for former landfill, The Laconia Daily Sun

Solar developer in a vortex of court filings, Bennington Banner

MWRTA installing solar canopy in Framingham, MetroWest Daily News

Solar Power Energy Payback Time Is Now Super Short, CleanTechnica

Moratorium on solar farms sought in Charlton, Worcester Telegram

New Energy Plan Clears Legislative Committee, But More Changes Expected, Hartford Courant

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Environmental groups call on Senate to support energy-efficiency bill, WMUR Manchester

Annual Update on Energy Efficiency from America’s Utilities, Natural Resources Defense Council

Good News: Congress Stands Up for Energy Efficiency with Omnibus Bill, ACEEE Press Release

Mass Save beginning in Brockton through Revise Energy, Cape Verdean Association, Enterprise

 

Nuclear

Companies propose solution for Vermont Yankee spent fuel, Brattleboro Reformer

Tainted water shipments continue at Vermont Yankee, Brattleboro Reformer

Vt. Yankee citizens panel reviews decommissioning memo, The Recorder

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Begins Final Refueling, The Examiner News

ITER nuclear fusion project avoids delays as U.S. doubles budget, Reuters

Del. Group Seeks to Block Artificial Island Project, RTO Insider

As Nuclear Plant Closes, Fears Shift From Contamination to Financial Pain, Wall Street Journal

FirstEnergy Solutions will close its nuclear power plants, but is silent on bankruptcy restructuring (photos), Plain Dealer

Pilgrim review draws support, criticism, Cape Cod Times

 

83D Mass RFP

Unexpected foes emerge to CMP’s plan to build transmission line to Canada, Press Herald

Three companies seek to block CMP’s Hydro Quebec transmission project, Mainebiz

$950M power grid project could tunnel under Kennebec River Gorge, Bangor Daily News

Baker pulls the plug on Eversource, The Boston Globe

In reversal, Massachusetts puts CMP in lead position for $950 million power line project, Press Herald

Massachusetts pulls out of Northern Pass energy deal, WMUR Manchester

Avangrid Wins Mega Transmission Project In New England, Forbes

Massachusetts Sinks Eversource Power Project, Picks Avangrid (1), Bloomberg BNA

Mass. And Utilities Ditch NH-Routed Northern Pass For Hydro Project Through Maine, WBUR

Maine In, NH Out for Energy Contract with Massachusetts, New Hampshire Public Radio

NH Site Evaluation Committee should stand firm on Northern Pass decision, New Hampshire Business Review

Massachusetts Electric Companies Reject Northern Pass, The Valley Patriot

Massachusetts hydro power will come through Maine, not White Mountains, Wicked Local

Next up, Central Maine Power, CommonWealth Magazine

Massachusetts ditches Northern Pass, looks to CMP for clean energy goals, Utility Dive

 

Electric Vehicles

Prospects of Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles Boosted with Chinese Backing, Energy Collective

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Staying a Step Ahead: A look inside ISO-NE and the region’s changing power system, (video) ISONewswire.com

Grid security falls to industry to self-regulate, Salem News

Raimondo: Report critical of National Grid’s response to October storm, ProJo

Peeved about power? Eversource defends its efforts, Wicked Local Brewster

Electricity supplier to pay $5 million to settle claims it misled Massachusetts customers, Boston Globe

Vermont Public Utility Commission approves release of request for proposals for Standard Offer program, Daily Energy Insider

Exelon Generation Files to Retire Mystic Generating Station in 2022, Absent Any Regulatory Solution, (Press Release)

Call For ‘Stiff Penalties’ Vs. Utility Companies Made By County Legislators, White Plains Daily Voice

Healey: Shut Down Competitive Electric Residential Supply Market, WGBH

Lawmakers grill CMP on handling of October storm, WGME

Microgrid Projects and Virtual Power Plants from Maine to Australia, Microgrid Knowledge

Exelon Generation Files to Retire Mystic Generating Station in 2022, Absent Any Regulatory Solution, Business Wire (press release)

RI Officials: National Grid’s October Storm Response Was Inadequate, Rhode Island Public Radio

What is up with your electric bill? Eversource explains, Wicked Local

 

Editorial/Opinion

Editorial: A pipeline lesson for Virginia, courtesy of Massachusetts, Richmond.com

The best chance for offshore wind in Mass., The Boston Globe

Expanding access for harvesting the sun, Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Boston’s ad hoc planning doesn’t work with climate change, Boston Globe

New England’s largest battery, CommonWealth Magazine

The era of conventional nuclear power may be ending, Washington Examiner

Northern Pass or another path?, NH Business Review

EDITORIAL: Mass. hydropower pact takes a detour, Lowell Sun

Oppose Eversource’s use of herbicides — now, Cape Cod Times

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