Energy News for week ending August 10, 2018

Catching Up and Closing In | Nuclear Triathlon: A Wasp Hitting a Wall

Good Friday afternoon. At the moment I’m writing this, the current fuel mix in New England, according to the ISO to Go app, is 64 percent natural gas, 22 percent nuclear and 7 percent renewables. The balance is mostly hydro (5 percent). While the current disparity here between natural gas fueled electricity and renewables is, ah let’s say huge, and the difference between nuclear production and renewables is also large, we have two stories this week that tell us that overall, the trend is moving toward renewables.

From Vox.com, Clean energy is catching up to natural gas, “In its role as a bridge, natural gas seems to have a comfortable future. First, it will replace coal and nuclear “baseload” plants, and then, as renewables grow to supply the bulk of power, it will provide flexibility, filling in the gaps where variable renewables (wind and solar) fall short. By playing these multiple roles, natural gas will long outlive coal and prove useful well into the latter half of the 21st century. It will enjoy a long, slow exit. Or so the story goes. Around 2015, though, just five years into gas’s rise to power, complications for this narrative began to appear. First, wind and solar costs fell so far, so fast that they are now undercutting the cost of new gas in a growing number of regions. And then batteries — which can “firm up” variable renewables, diminishing the need for natural gas’s flexibility — also started getting cheap faster than anyone expected. It happened so fast that, in certain limited circumstances, solar+storage or wind+storage is already cheaper than new natural gas plants and able to play all the same roles (and more).”

And from Greentech Media, US Renewables Are Closing In on Nuclear Generation. “Nuclear power’s tenure as the leading source of zero-carbon electricity may be coming to an end. After decades of stalled nuclear plant development and the recent surge of increasingly cheap wind and solar deployments, the newcomers are pulling ahead. In the first five months of 2018, renewables produced 20.17 percent of U.S. electricity and nuclear produced 20.14 percent, according to Energy Information Administration data compiled by Ken Bossong of the Sun Day Campaign. A similar record was hit in the first three months of 2017. In the two most recent months included in the data set, April and May, renewables outproduced nuclear by more than 10 percent.”

Speaking of nuclear, no one wants a national nuclear spent fuel repository more than nuclear generators and their host communities. But often concerns are raised about how safely the spent fuel can be transported. With that in mind, we bring you a story from The Verge, Scientists put a nuclear waste container through a demanding trip to see if the fuel would break, “Researchers sent a nuclear waste container on a 14,500-mile odyssey by truck, barge, cargo ship, and train in an effort to understand how well radioactive fuel would stand up to travel.” The results according to one of the scientists involved in the experiment, “‘…though we’re still analyzing the data, is that we have a huge margin of safety…they said the largest shock they saw was the equivalent of a wasp hitting a wall. It is very, very, very small. These rods are all contained in an assembly that holds them all together, and they are just not moving. And so even though the truck or the train jiggles quite a bit, the basket and the cask and the canister really hold it all together very well and actually absorb a lot of those little vibrations and bumps and shocks that the rail car experiences. Those energies don’t make it all the way up through the whole system to the fuel. So the fuel has a very smooth ride.””

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

New deed finalizes sale of land on which gas company wants to build compressor, Patriot Ledger

BIA endorses Granite Bridge pipeline project, Seacoastonline.com

US fossil fuels target global energy poverty, climate change in new PR push, S and P Global

Clean energy is catching up to natural gas, Vox.com

NY regulators leave 680 MW gas plant without an air permit, Utility Dive

FERC denies rehearing on Northern Pass pipeline, overruling New York decision, Utility Dive

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

N.Y. grid operator moves toward landmark carbon price, National Wind Watch

Massachusetts Clean Energy Bill 2018: Continuing the Journey, Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)

Advocates share renewable energy agenda at CTEi, Leominster Champion

Cape leads the way on renewable energy, Cape Cod Times

Legislators compromise on clean energy legislation; net metering cap for solar left unchanged, theberkshireedge.com

US Renewables Are Closing In on Nuclear Generation, Greentech Media

At ‘America First Energy Conference’, solar power is dumb, climate change is fake, Reuters

 

Wind

Yarmouth officials balk at initial offer from Vineyard Wind, Cape Cod Times

Third try for offshore-wind project near Atlantic City, NJ Spotlight

Eversource offered to drop out of offshore wind procurement team, CommonWealth Magazine

Deepwater Wind Set for Seafloor Survey Off New England, Subsea World News

Offshore wind: NJ, Phil Murphy bet on clean energy, but who will pay?, Asbury Park Press

Greenwood residents OK commercial wind farm amendments, Lewiston Sun Journal

Four of NYS Thruway’s costly wind turbines stand idle. Why?, Buffalo News

Dominion Energy, Ørsted to partner for offshore wind project, Daily Energy Insider

Gov. Raimondo looks to further offshore wind, to fishermen’s dismay, ABC 6

Massachusetts Wind Electricity Rates Will Be A Fraction Of The South, 27east.com

Bay State Wind alters proposal to allow more distance between turbines, South Coast Today

 

Solar

An offer utilities can’t refuse: The low cost of utility-scale solar, Utility Dive

Solar growth continues in US, though EIA trims its 2019 forecast 45%, Utility Dive

Can solar energy save the bees?, Phys.org

New solar array hits legal ‘wormhole’ in Windsor, Berkshire Eagle

Waterville solar project on landfill gets lease extension, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Voters approve solar array, Mount Desert Islander

NH apartment building says it can be net-zero energy with just solar panels, Concord Monitor

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

New energy efficiency financing approach vies for grand prize in New York competition, Utility Dive

Partnership announces storage project in Hinesburg, Vermont, Daily Energy Insider

State advised to reject PSE&G clawback of revenues from customers, NJ Spotlight

LED lamps to light up Weymouth schools, Wicked Local Weymouth

 

Nuclear

Scientists put a nuclear waste container through a demanding trip to see if the fuel would break, The Verge

Entergy selling Pilgrim plant for ‘accelerated decommissioning,’ Southcoasttoday.com

Experts: Pilgrim safe from hurricane’s impact, Cape Cod Times

Mars 2020 rover goes nuclear with delivery of new electrical generator, New Atlas

4 Reasons Why U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Are Safe from Drones, NEI Blog

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

NY Energy Market Summit Tackles DERs, RTO Insider

U.S. Officials Push New Penalties for Hackers of Electrical Grid, Wall St. Journal

New York generators urge FERC to block certain capacity sales, SPGlobal.com

Massachusetts Lawmakers Pass Bill that Opens New Prospects for Microgrids, Microgrid Knowledge

Report: Trump to nominate DOE policy head McNamee to FERC, Utility Dive

Utilities ask customers to save power during high heat, (VT) Washington Times

High energy costs a deterrent as NH looks to attract and keep companies, The Union Leader

Rhode Island residents concerned about high-voltage line at beach, WHDH 7News

Gov. Sununu touts need to lower NH’s energy costs, Seacoastonline.com

Construction Begins on 7.4-MW Fuel Cell Park at Naval Submarine Base New London, Microgrid Knowledge

Report: FERC working with White House, NSC on coal and nuclear bailout, Utility Dive

 

Editorial/Opinion

Letter to the editor: Tech can solve gas pipeline concerns, Boston Business Journal

OUR OPINION: Keep a watchful eye on decommissioning of Plymouth nuclear plant, Patriot Ledger

Op-ed: NJ should favor single developers for offshore-wind projects, NJ Spotlight

To the Editor: More evidence, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Editorial: Surging prices for electricity, The Providence Journal

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Filed under New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, Renewables

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