NE Energy News for week ending January 4, 2019

Monitoring | Sun shines in Holyoke | What if…

Happy Friday everyone. We hope you all enjoyed the holidays. Now let’s get back to it.

This week we start with a gas story. From the Eagle Tribune, “Natural gas companies would be required to have experienced technicians on job sites to monitor gas pressure in the lines during work, under a proposal filed Thursday. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, filed the proposal in response to the gas fires and explosions that ripped through the Merrimack Valley four months ago. ‘We need to make sure that monitoring is taking place on every site where it’s warranted,’ Tarr said. ‘It’s a matter of protecting public safety and the reliability of the gas system.’ He said the proposal, if approved, would require the state Department of Public Utilities to come up with regulations to require monitors on job sites.”

Holyoke finds itself at the center of an “activists do good” story in Fast Company. “For more than half a century, a coal plant in the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts spewed pollution into the air. Now, the plant is closed, and 17,000 solar panels and a battery storage system–the largest in the state–send clean power to the grid. Later this year, as the coal plant’s smokestacks come down, the rest of the site will be developed for new industry. It’s a transition that was driven by the economic collapse of coal and accelerated by local activists who were concerned about the area’s high asthma rates, twice as high as the rest of the state.”

The last story we’re highlighting for this week comes from CommonWealth Magazine and features a “What if” scenario relative to offshore wind. “Last year at this time, New England was gripped by a blast of unusually cold weather that went on for 16 days. The prolonged low temperatures increased demand for natural gas for both heating and electricity, which with the region’s pipeline constraints led to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices and forced power generators to burn more oil in the brief period than they had in the previous two years combined. Now the operator of the region’s power grid, at the request of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, has engaged in a bit of “what if” analysis. What if a wind farm had been operating off the coast last winter? The analysis indicates a working wind farm last winter would have reduced the region’s carbon dioxide emissions and wholesale electricity prices, but not enough to eliminate the impact of the region’s pipeline constraints.”

See below for a lot more articles and opinion pieces. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Gov. Charlie Baker signs law requiring greater engineering oversight of natural gas work, MassLive

Tarr proposal would require monitors on gas projects, Eagle Tribune

New England Pipeline Upgrade Opponents Fail At DC Circ., Law360

Fracking’s Secret Problem—Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast, Wall St. Journal (paywall)

Pipeline Incident Statistics Reveal Significant Dangers, NRDC.org

With Hogan ‘no’ vote, Maryland board rejects Columbia Gas pipeline expansion, Utility Dive

 

Lockout

National Grid workers say holding firm on contract demands ‘the right thing,’ Boston Globe

As National Grid Reaches Tentative Deal, Real Estate Group Warns Backlog Could Be 2 Years, WBUR

Developers cheer eased gas moratorium, impending National Grid lockout end, BBJ (paywall)

National Grid, union reach tentative agreement to end lockout, Boston Globe

 

Merrimack Valley

Lawrence fire chief wants Columbia Gas to pay for extra firefighters in new year, Eagle Tribune

Andover Fire Chief: Call 911 For Gas Leaks, USA Patch

Columbia Gas customers have sticker shock at first bills since explosions in Massachusetts, WGME

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Emissions from New England power plants fall again, MassLive

Clean energy industry increases in Massachusetts, The Reminder

Bill seeks $50 million to address sea level change in Maine, Portland Press Herald

Conn. joins multi-state pact to tax auto emissions, Connecticut Post

Massachusetts activists and legislators call for action in environmental policy, Daily Hampshire Gazette

State starts from zero with clean peak energy standard, WBJournal

Westborough and Northborough Named Green Communities, USA Patch

Conn. Zero-Carbon Awards Include Nuclear, Offshore Wind, Solar, RTO Insider

 

Wind

What if an offshore wind farm was up and running last winter?, CommonWealth Magazine

PPA for 200-MW Offshore Wind Farm Approved by Connecticut Regulators, Renewable Energy World

With Vineyard Wind, the U.S. Finally Goes Big on Offshore Wind Power, IEEE Spectrum

3 firms eye building wind energy turbines off New Jersey, Houston Chronicle

 

Solar

This old coal plant is now a solar farm, thanks to pressure from local activists, Fast Company

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities releases straw proposal for transition to new solar program, Daily Energy Insider

US on cusp of unprecedented solar boom, pv magazine international

Solar farms and bridgework lead news in 2018, Breeze Publications

Solar farm on town warrant, Cabinet

Brunswick families ask state’s top court to overturn solar panel tax, Portland Press Herald

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Vassalboro to convert streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs, Kennebec Journal

New York energy storage sector expected to create 27,400 jobs by 2030, Business Journals

 

EVs

Massachusetts Extends Electric Vehicle Rebate Program, Electriccarsreport.com

 

Nuclear

Connecticut taps nuclear plants to generate clean energy, AP

Trump’s Tech Battle With China Roils Bill Gates Nuclear Venture, Wall St. Journal

Nuke on a truck: How Westinghouse is shrinking the nuclear power plant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nuclear Industry Still A Power Player, But Solar And Offshore Wind Energy Grow, WNPR

Regulators file complaint against maker of nuclear fuel cask at Vermont Yankee, The Post-Star

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Town anticipates $3.5 million power plant payment, Wicked Local Sandwich

NY State Public Service Commission launches pilot program to reduce energy costs, Daily Energy Insider
US energy expenditures lowest in nearly 50 years in 2016, Daily Energy Insider

A power company mishap turns New York’s skyline blue, CNN

Electricity Use Was Up Last Year, But Why?, Bloomberg

Three Big Energy Ideas to Watch in 2019, Microgrid Knowledge

Eversource continues to oppose sale of Connecticut Water to Calif. company, Journal Inquirer

ISO-NE Pulls off Fuel Security, CASPR Measures, RTO Insider

New York Looks to Expand Energy Programs in 2019, RTO Insider

CMP says Jackman outages are higher, but not as bad as residents are saying, Portland Press Herald

 

 

Editorial/Opinion

To combat climate change, Massachusetts needs to break these habits — and soon, Boston Globe

Developing Widett Circle is short-sighted, CommonWealth Magazine

Municipal electricity aggregation really works, CommonWealth Magazine

Unexpected fall of Northern Pass, Concord Monitor via Energy Central

Viewpoint: New energy infrastructure must be a priority, Boston Business Journal

Whitcomb: They’re Leaving but It’s Still Crowded; NEPOOL; End of Zoning? Crowded Block, GoLocalProv

How gas demand from Boston changed a faraway island, Boston Globe

Editorial: Industry must be part of transit carbon cap policy, Boston Business Journal

Columnist Marty Nathan: ‘Pollute or convert.’ It’s time for green energy., Daily Hampshire Gazette

Editorial: Nuclear regulatory diligence is appreciated, Daily Hampshire Gazette

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

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