Energy News for week ending May 24, 2019

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.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

National Grid says no new NYC natgas customers without Williams pipeline, Reuters

 

Weymouth Compressor Station

Lawmakers: Compressor case eroded public confidence in regulators, Patriot Ledger

Hearing Officer To DEP: Tell Me Why I Shouldn’t Sanction You, WGBH

Compressor Station Permit Based On Incomplete Air Tests, State Admits, WBUR

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Pilgrim closure could drive up carbon emissions, Eagle-Tribune

NH Senate approves more subsides for biomass plants, New Hampshire Union Leader

New environmental commissioner Katie Dykes takes helm in era of escalating climate change, Hartford Courant

 

Wind

Lawmakers urged to help revive UMaine-led offshore wind project, Portland Press Herald

National Grid, offshore wind company to bury cables exposed on Block Island, Southcoasttoday

Massachusetts Looks To Harness The Winds, With Some British Help, WGBH

DPU approves 2nd round of offshore energy bids, Cape Cod Times

 

Solar

Municipal light communities part of rebate program, Telegram

New Hampshire legislators quintuple net metering cap by veto-proof margin, Utility Dive

Floating Solar Excels Where Land Is Scarce, and That’s a Lot of Places, Greentech Media

 

Efficiency/Storage

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

For existing homes, energy efficiency often has a better return on investment than solar, ACEEE Blog

 

Nuclear

A Post-Nuclear Reality Settles In For Vernon, Vermont, NEPR

Speedy reactor cleanups may carry both risks and rewards, AP

NJ utility board going to court over $300M nuclear bailout, Press of Atlantic City

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices, etc.

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

States squandering $3B VW settlement fund with lack of EV focus: report, Utility Dive

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

FERC Is No Shield For $3.6B Utility Scheme, 1st Circ. Told, Law360

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

Accelerated gas leak repair campaign shows power of community advocacy, need for continued accountability (Guest viewpoint), MassLive

Renewables aren’t reliable enough to generate that much power, Sentinel and Enterprise

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Filed under New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, offshore wind, solar, Uncategorized

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