Energy News for week ending December 21, 2018

Rising Waters | Winter Wallop | Plea for LNG

Happy soggy Friday afternoon.

Here are a few stories you may have missed this week.

For those of you who enjoy taking Amtrak to destinations between Boston and DC – take note. Bloomberg Businessweek reports, Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. “By the middle of this century, climate change is likely to punch a hole through the busiest stretch of rail in North America. Parts of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor route, which carries 12 million people each year between Boston and Washington, face ‘continual inundation.’ Flooding, rising seas, and storm surge threaten to erode the track bed and knock out the signals that direct train traffic. The poles that provide electricity for trains are at risk of collapse, even as power substations succumb to floodwaters. ‘f one of the segments of track shuts down, it will shut down this segment of the NEC,’ warned members of Amtrak’s planning staff. ‘There is not an alternate route that can be used as a detour.’

If that long-term forecast doesn’t worry you, how about this short term one? The Washington Post had a story this week, Polar vortex could unleash winter wallop by January. “Winter got off to a fast start in the Lower 48 even before it was technically winter. Waves of cold gripped the eastern two-thirds of the United States and several winter storms tracked across the region. Conditions have since eased some, but the heart of winter lies ahead. Will cold and snowy conditions return and turn more harsh? The polar vortex, the roaring river of air winding around the North Pole, holds the cards. What they reveal could be very disturbing and a harbinger of extreme winter weather in the Eastern United States.”

Cold snaps often create natural gas supply issues. So what’s a region to do? The Sentinel and Enterprise reports, ‘Disaster’ has Gov. seeking LNG changes. “As cold weather and higher electricity prices start to encroach, Massachusetts energy officials want to lobby the federal government to ease restrictions on shipments of liquified (sic) natural gas into New England in hopes of controlling costs and improving reliability in the energy grid…So the Baker administration, with the support of the rest of the New England governors, is planning to try ‘working with federal officials to explore modifying the Jones Act to facilitate shipping of LNG from domestic sources,’ Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson said last week. The Jones Act has been suspended or amended before, often in the wake of a natural disaster when the government wants to maximize the number of ships that can help deliver relief aid. EEA said such a waiver or exemption ‘could be done permanently or semipermanently to ensure a reliable and affordable supply of LNG to Massachusetts consumers.’”

There are a lot of news stories below. We’ll be off next Friday for the holidays but will be back in your inboxes on January 4th. In the meantime, thank you for letting us be a part of your energy world each week and we wish you all a wonderful holiday week and a happy and healthy 2019.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

‘Disaster’ has Gov. seeking LNG changes, Sentinel and Enterprise

After change of heart, Eversource will fund repairs to Framingham couple’s home, MetroWest Daily News

Gateway Gas Pipeline Expansion Connecting to Utilities in Northeast, Power Engineering

Natural gas industry burns for more pipeline capacity in Mass., Boston Globe

Rising LNG demand to exert more pull on U.S. natgas prices, Reuters

Watchdog Finds ‘Significant’ Weakness in U.S. Pipeline Security, Bloomberg

Natural gas utility to fund ‘alternative heating’ in Western Massachusetts, MassLive

State joins suit to block offshore drilling, Salem News

East Braintree resident raises concerns about Calpine generators, Weymouth.WickedLocal.com

CT regulator wraps pipeline review, finds utilities acting properly, Hartford Business Journal

Despite moratorium’s end, new National Grid gas hookups will not begin immediately, MassLive

 

Merrimac Valley

Gas recovery will extend into fall 2019, Eagle Tribune

Massachusetts senators press Columbia Gas on whistleblower’s warning, Boston Herald

Lawsuit filed against Columbia Gas, Boston Herald

Day care owner joins those suing Columbia Gas, Salem News

Recovery Will Finish More Than A Year After Gas Explosions, Patch.com

Sen. Markey Promises Hearings After Columbia Gas Whistleblower’s Warnings, NECN

Columbia Gas says it will meet DPU deadline, Eagle-Tribune

Massachusetts DPU puts Columbia Gas under engineering firm’s oversight, Boston Herald

Foundation Set To Release Third Stipend To Gas Explosion Victims, USA Patch

More Aid For Merrimack Valley Gas Explosion Victims, USA Patch

 

Lockout

Massachusetts Senate passes bill to extend unemployment benefits to locked-out National Grid gas workers, MassLive

With differing bills for locked-out workers, House calls for Baker’s suggestions, Boston Globe

House, Senate at odds on Grid legislation, CommonWealth Magazine

Oops: DeLeo says Grid bill drafted incorrectly, CommonWealth Magazine

Baker backs more worker benefits if Grid lockout doesn’t end soon, CommonWealth Magazine

Senate readying bill to extend benefits for locked-out National Grid workers, Boston Globe

Decision on National Grid unlikely to help Quincy projects, Patriot Ledger

Moratorium on National Grid gas hookups lifted, Boston Globe

Montigny presses Spilka to act on lockout bill, South Coast Today

Locked-out workers blast DPU lift of National Grid moratorium, Boston Herald

Massachusetts imposes gas safety protocols on National Grid following over pressurization incident, Utility Dive

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, Bloomberg Business

From climate change to congestion, Massachusetts has a new transportation plan, MassLive

Polar vortex could unleash winter wallop by January, Washington Post

New Jersey regulators issue rules to rejoin RGGI carbon trading system, Utility Dive

New York Gov. Cuomo pledges 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, Utility Dive

New York Power Authority to invest $250M in electric grid for better access to renewables, Daily Energy Insider

DC passes ‘most ambitious’ mandate for 100% renewables by 2032, Utility Dive

Energy transitions are usually slow. Here’s why the clean energy transition might be faster., Vox.com

Report: Massachusetts clean energy sector added 1,500 jobs in 2017, MassLive

Cap-and-Trade for Cars Is Coming to the Northeast, Scientific American

In landmark agreement, Mass., eight other states vow to cut transportation emissions, Boston Globe

Conn. Looks To Mix Of Strategies To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions, WSHU News

Rhode Island Renewable Energy Becomes Part Of The Everyday Landscape, CleanTechnica

 

Wind

A 21,000% Gain Shows Sky-High Value of Offshore Wind Leases, Bloomberg

Offshore Wind Auction For 390,000 Acres South Of Mass. Blows Through Sale Record, WBUR

Vineyard Wind Lands Second Offshore Lease, Vineyard Gazette

New Jersey regulators hand third rejection to Atlantic City offshore wind pilot, Utility Dive

Avangrid Renewables expands offshore wind portfolio after auction win, Windpower Engineering & Development

CT wind, fuel cell projects win long-term contracts, Hartford Business Journal

Shell Places 1.6 Gigawatt Bet On US Offshore Wind Energy, CleanTechnica

Association to Preserve Cape Cod Formally Endorses Vineyard Wind, Cape Cod

 

Solar

New Jersey moves to end solar RECs, take next steps toward 100% renewables, Utility Dive

Portland’s newest and largest solar array moves city toward its renewable-energy goal, Press Herald

Solar Wolf Energy Expands Footprint in Massachusetts, NA Clean Energy

LIPA OKs consumer-protection measures for solar customers, Newsday.com

New England Talks Solar, Storage and Public Policy, RTO Insider

ReVision Energy launches fund to help nonprofits tap solar energy, Mainebiz

Environmental group worries proposed solar farm could destroy Milford’s ecological gem, New Hampshire Union Leader

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

New York State PSC approves increases in energy efficiency, energy storage targets, Daily Energy Insider

MIT researchers make strides on location-independent, large-scale energy storage, Daily Energy Insider

NYPA board approves $600M credit line for efficiency projects as utility targets double, Utility Dive

NY’s energy storage target: It’s the journey, not the destination, stakeholders say, Utility Dive

Waltham Considers Hiring Full-Time Sustainability Manager, USA Patch

Design Building awarded LEED Gold certification, Massachusetts Daily Collegian

 

Nuclear

Indian Point closure will put power supply in flux, Times Herald-Record

Accelerated retirement of U.S. coal, nuke plants has potential risks –NERC, Reuters

PSEG first to file for subsidies to keep its nuclear plants online, NJ Spotlight

Nuclear Advisory Group Endorses Seabrook’s Plan To Monitor Concrete Cracks, NHPR

Seabrook Station: Study: Plant can operate, Newburyport Daily News

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Eversource balks at state law ordering it to buy wood power, New Hampshire Union Leader

Consumer Energy Alliance Report Finds Higher Household Heating Costs Threaten Northeast Consumers, Boston Business Journal

Capacity pricing changes: How each power market plans to account for resource adequacy, Utility Dive

Wallingford not affected by utilities’ rate hikes, Record-Journal

Connecticut regulator weighs ‘amnesty’ for alternative electric suppliers, The Hour

Meriden To Recoup $3.4 Million From Eversource, USA Patch

Audit of CMP billing errors reveals lapses in training, testing, Portland Press Herald

FERC approves cost recovery for Exelon’s Mystic gas plant, Utility Dive

Zoning board approves generators at Fore River power plant, Patriot Ledger

Camden, N.J. Looks to Innovative Bonds to Expand Microgrid Project, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

Has the Mass. solar gamble paid off?, CommonWealth Magazine

New Congress will bring a green wave on climate change, Boston Globe

In Quebec, clean energy goes to waste. Let’s use it., Boston Globe

Governor Baker, it’s time to hold gas utilities accountable, Boston Globe

Ocean plot auctions reap windfall for future, Boston Herald

The state’s social contract with utilities, CommonWealth Magazine

Clarity coming to NJ’s aggressive clean energy plan and its costs, Press of Atlantic City

Column: Justice for the Merrimack Valley starts with real accountability, Eagle-Tribune

Record-Smashing Auction Sets America on Course for Offshore Wind, Union of Concerned Scientists

Letter to the editor: Why are Massachusetts power needs prioritized over Maine’s?, Portland Press Herald

Lights out for Eversource (Letters), MassLive

Letter to the editor: Shame on National Grid, Sun Chronicle

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

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