Energy News for week ending March 9, 2019

NRC Upgrades Pilgrim | Electrification to cost $600B | Where’s the refund

Happy weekend. Today we’re bringing you a rare Saturday edition of the Northeast Weekly Energy News.

The New England nuclear fleet all made headlines this week. In the good news category, The Cape Cod Times reported that the NRC moved Pilgrim back to normal oversight. We know the plant employees have been working diligently for 18 months or more to prove to the NRC that they have what it takes to run the plant safely and securely. After a long series of inspections, the NRC moved the plant back into Category 1, which is “normal” in the reactor oversight program. Kudos to the Pilgrim team who will finish strong when the plant closes on June 1.

In other nuclear news, Seabrook Station received its license renewal (Boston Globe) and Millstone is coming up on a deadline to get utility contracts or face shutdown (Hartford Courant).

In other news, Utility Dive reports, “The electrification of transportation, space heating and other sectors will lead to a large jump in electricity generation, ultimately requiring billions of dollars in transmission investments over the next several decades, according to analysis from Brattle Group. The transmission investment required to accommodate new renewable resources could reach $90 billion by 2030, according to the report released by WIRES Group, a trade association advocating for transmission investment. By 2050, the investment could grow to more than $600 billion. Electrification could increase U.S. annual energy demand by 5% to 15% by 2030, according to the analysis, and by up to 85% by 2050.”

The last tidbit for this week, Mass AG Maura Healey wants to know where the utility refunds are. From the Boston Globe, “The Department of Public Utilities had ordered all utility companies in June to reduce their rates going forward in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that cut the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent starting January 2018. But it stopped short of requiring them to refund customers for any savings they realized for the first half of the year, when the companies’ utility rates were based on the former — higher — tax rate. By lowering the rates starting in July, DPU decided, ratepayers would still receive “prompt and significant” savings amounting to tens of millions of dollars. To order refunds would be “inappropriate,” DPU officials said. In a 26-page motion filed Thursday, Healey’s office criticized the department for not providing “substantial evidence” to back up its February decision. It estimated that the savings could amount to $40 million for ratepayers over those six months, and urged the DPU to reconsider, writing that it runs counter to decisions made in nearly a dozen other states.

That’s the recap for this week. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey moves to block seismic testing for offshore oil and gas, MassLive

Merrimack Valley shop owners frustrated with natural gas disaster response, Boston.com

Regulators visit proposed compressor site, Patriot Ledger

Amherst facing pipeline threat, Cabinet

Gas plant boosts Bridgeport’s grand list, Connecticut Post

Smith College to honor activist Frances Crowe at 100, MassLive

After Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions, Shake Up at State Regulatory Agency, NECN

Columbia Gas Executives Schedule Merrimack Valley Meetings, USA Patch

NiSource says it’s under investigation by SEC, Boston Herald

National Grid: Lack of pipeline could affect projects, Newsday

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

ISO-NE forecasts transition to distributed, renewable generation, Utility Dive

Connecticut Tops National Environmental Scorecard, WSHU News

Rep. Lori Ehrlich announces two bills to combat climate change, Daily Item

Europe’s renewable energy policy is built on burning American trees, Vox

National Grid To Acquire Clean Energy Developer Geronimo Energy, North American Windpower

24 towns to vote on climate change resolutions, VTDigger

 

Wind

Gov. Charlie Baker enthuses about power possibilities at Elm/SHNS Wind Forum, Wicked Local Braintree

Atlantic Wind appeals zoning denial, TNOnline.com

Offshore wind, nuclear subsidies draw lobbying dollars, Press of Atlantic City

Lawmakers may drop price cap as wind farm’s low prices cause a stir, Boston Globe

In $225 million partnership, Eversource takes deep dive into offshore wind projects in Atlantic, MSN

Offshore wind getting its sea legs in New Hampshire, New Hampshire Business Review

MassDEP Financed Torturous 110 Decibel Falmouth Wind Turbine, USA Patch

National Grid To Acquire Clean Energy Developer Geronimo Energy, North American Windpower

Governor Baker touts promise of wind power, new technology, Boston Globe

 

Solar

New Milford files another petition against Candlewood Solar project, Greenwich Time

Hopkinton hopes to convert former landfill to solar array, Westerley Sun

Energy standards lead to partnership, Rutland Herald

Rotating Solar Panels Can Increase Efficiency by 32 Percent, Study Shows, Inverse

Just Ask Washington: Yes, Coal-Killing Solar Panels Work In Rainy Weather, CleanTechnica

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Welch legislation on energy efficiency in schools passes, WCAX

New and Improved Energy Efficiency Programs, NRDC.org

Efficiency leads 2019 energy job growth prospects, Utility Dive

Deploying more renewables now through an energy storage-centric Clean Peak Standard, Utility Dive

US energy storage market nearly doubled in 2018, report says, Utility Dive

Vermont utility and non-profit advance bring your own device energy storage program, Renewable Energy World

DOE plans to complete 13 of 16 delayed efficiency standards in ‘coming months,’ Utility Dive

 

EVs

Blink Charging: A Diversified Approach To Investing In The EV Market, Seeking Alpha

Pennsylvania removes barrier to third-party EV charging station ownership, Utility Dive

A look into Big Oil’s fight against electric cars, E&E News

 

Nuclear

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station moved out of worst performance category, Cape Cod Times

Dominion faces March 15 deadline to secure utility contracts for Millstone nuke, Utility Dive

Nuclear regulators extend Seabrook plant’s license to 2050, Boston Globe

Rescuing nuclear power plants could come with conditions, AP News

Rebuilding access to former nuke site could cost Rowe $800,000, Greenfield Recorder

The Millstone nuclear plant faces a tight deadline to survive, Boston Globe

Threat of shutdown hovers over negotiations between Millstone and utilities over power prices, Hartford Courant

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

How did Maine officials reach deal to accept CMP transmission line? This document sheds light., Portland Press Herald

Public advocate backs power line; environment group opposed, Ledger-Enquirer

NEPOOL Debates Winter Energy Security Moves, RTO Insider

Lawsuit claims Bow power plant is violating Clean Water Act, New Hampshire Union Leader

Partners HealthCare Turns to Fuel Cells to Improve Electric Reliability at its Massachusetts Hospitals, Microgrid Knowledge

Developers set date for closed power plant towers’ implosion, Boston Herald

Why Europe Pays Less Than U.S. to Put Power Lines Underground, Bloomberg

Grid exec sees risks in gas, renewables reliance, NHBR

Brattle: Electrification could drive $600B in transmission spending by 2050, Utility Dive

Attorney general urges state regulators to order utilities to issue refunds to ratepayers, Boston Globe

 

Editorial/Opinion

Another View: Editorials endorsing CMP plan overlook its many risks, Portland Press Herald

Columnist Marty Nathan: The many plays in climate fight game, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Column: Fossil fuels are bad for you in many ways besides climate change, Gloucester Daily Times

Commentary: Support for Central Maine Power transmission line is misguided, Portland Press Herald

NH Voices: Lou Antonellis, Denis Beaudoin, Sr. and Steve Soule — Seabrook plant workers support license extension, New Hampshire Union Leader

Massachusetts to Maine Governor Janet Mills: Thank you, Boston Globe

Care About Climate Change? Keep an Eye On the State Budget., Climate X Change

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Filed under Climate Change, Electric Grid, Electricity Costs, Energy Efficiency, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, offshore wind

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