Confidence Eroded | Floating Solar | Non-wires Alternative
Happy Friday afternoon. Let’s get to the news.
We start on the South Shore with an article from the Patriot Ledger about the ongoing saga of the proposed Weymouth Compressor Station. Jessica Trufant reports, “Lawmakers are urging a state regulator to overturn the air-quality permit issued for a proposed natural gas compressor station in Weymouth due to what they see as incomplete air testing, a delayed disclosure of new data and questionable appeal proceedings. Nine South Shore legislators sent a letter to hearing officer Jane Rothchild this week requesting that she reject the air-quality plan and force gas company Spectra Energy-Enbridge to resubmit a plan that incorporates all data. State environmental regulators last week released hundreds of pages of additional air-quality testing data from the Fore River Basin several days after they received it, and two days into an appeal hearing on the air-quality permit. Experts, residents and officials opposed to the 7,700-horsepower natural gas compressor say the new data show existing pollution levels are higher than state officials previously acknowledged. State Sen. Patrick O’Connor, a Weymouth Republican, said the public has lost complete trust in the state Department of Environmental Protection, and the process should revert to the beginning.”
A few months back we shared an article about a person who wanted to put floating solar panels on Massachusetts’ largest drinking water source – the Quabbin Reservoir. We still think that’s a bit of a hinky idea, but Greentech Media reports that “Floating Solar Excels Where Land Is Scarce, and That’s a Lot of Places. Floating photovoltaics have already delivered 1.1 gigawatts of installations worldwide, according to the World Bank. That’s a small slice of the broader solar industry, which now installs close to 100 gigawatts a year. That said, floating solar excels in markets where land is scarce or otherwise unavailable, and that tracks well with major growth markets for the solar industry, analysts noted at GTM’s Solar Summit in Scottsdale last week. Putting solar on the water costs more than building it on land — although there is little data to show exactly how much — but it brings several operational benefits. Most importantly, it allows developers to generate power without taking land offline for other uses…‘It’s ideal in places where you have limited land availability,’ said Teresa Barnes of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Floating developers aren’t targeting just any body of water. They’re focusing on the aquatic equivalent of a brownfield site: man-made, inland, generally calm. Exposing a solar installation to battering ocean waves, or plopping one on a pristine natural lake, is not on the menu so far. Floating solar makes the most sense in areas where land is expensive, or required for more valuable uses, like agriculture. Man-made pools can also offer space to generate power close to the point of use when it otherwise would not be possible.
Last up for this week we take you to Westmoreland, NH with a story from New Hampshire Rublic Radio. “Eversource wants to bring battery storage and other new energy technology to a small, rural town in western New Hampshire. The utility’s clean energy strategy director, Charlotte Ancel, says the town of Westmoreland experiences some of the longest, most frequent power outages of any town in the utility’s New Hampshire service area. Ancel says this is because Westmoreland relies on one power line with no backups, and it’s vulnerable to falling tree branches in storms the utility expects to increase with climate change. ‘So we view the need to provide safe, reliable, cost-effective power to our customers as being an urgent and non-negotiable need,’ she says. But Ancel says building another power line to address the problem would cost $6 million. Instead, Eversource wants to build a battery, for $7 million – with an estimated long-term savings of $2 million for all the company’s New Hampshire customers. Ancel says the project aims to reduce costs, improve reliability and lower carbon emissions for customers in Westmoreland and across the state.”
One side note – this week we’ve pared back the number of stories to bring you higher level, policy-type news and less of what’s happening in local communities. Tell us what you think – is less more or do you like to see all the local headlines? Just reply to this email or leave a comment on the blog and let us know your thoughts.
We hope you all enjoy the long holiday weekend. And please remember to take a moment to appreciate those who gave their lives in service to our country.
Effort to Trade Gas for Hydropower in Northeast Meets Resistance, Scientific American
N.H. remains reliant on heating oil, other fossil fuels to keep warm, Concord Monitor
Weymouth Compressor Station
Pilgrim closure could drive up carbon emissions, Eagle-Tribune
NH Senate approves more subsides for biomass plants, New Hampshire Union Leader
Lawmakers urged to help revive UMaine-led offshore wind project, Portland Press Herald
DPU approves 2nd round of offshore energy bids, Cape Cod Times
The unsung reliability hero of New England: Energy efficiency, Environmental Defense Fund
Eversource Plans $7M Battery Storage Demonstration Project In Westmoreland, New Hampshire Public Radio
The Story on Storage: Is it Truly Charging Ahead?, Electric Light & Power
NJ utility board going to court over $300M nuclear bailout, Press of Atlantic City
EIA Launches its New State Energy Portal, NA Clean Energy
Brockton mayor ‘livid’ with National Grid response to repeated manhole explosions, Brockton Enterprise
What’s in your electricity bill?, (Video) CommonWealth Magazine
ISO-NE on Track with GMD Standard, RTO Insider
FERC Sets Conference on New England Fuel Security, RTO Insider
Eversource Balks at ISO-NE Plan on CIP Costs, RTO Insider
Cuomo vs. New York, Wall St. Journal
Giveaways to Millstone won’t guarantee more winter power, Connecticut Mirror
My Turn: Bill plugs net metering utility loophole, Concord Monitor
COMMENTARY: Take rising seas and Seabrook Station seriously, Daily News of Newburyport
State must end fossil fuel dependency: Op-Ed, New Haven Register
Renewables aren’t reliable enough to generate that much power, Sentinel and Enterprise