Energy News for week ending August 9, 2019

Cooking with gas – or not? | Turn to Stone | Chernobyl “Atomik”

Happy Friday afternoon folks. We start this week’s news recap with a question posed in a WBUR headline – Give up your gas stove to save the planet? “As more cities and states try to cut carbon emissions, some are taking aim at a new target: natural gas inside homes. Buildings, through heating and cooking, use almost a third of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. In July, Berkeley, Calif., became the first city in the country to ban natural gas in new buildings, starting next year. City officials say new efficient electric appliances have lower carbon footprints than gas-powered furnaces and water heaters…Cities like San Jose, Sacramento and Los Angeles are developing their own policies to make buildings zero carbon, and a number of cities around the world have pledged to do the same. But opponents say the push to get rid of gas goes against what consumers are asking for, especially in their kitchens. ‘People love their gas stoves,’ says Bob Raymer, technical director with the California Building Industry Association. ‘We don’t want to force something onto the consumer that makes the consumer feel uncomfortable, or that they just don’t like. After all, it’s their home.’ But California has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2045, and about a quarter of the state’s emissions come from energy used by buildings. To reach its ambitious climate change goals, the state will eventually have to force — or entice — homeowners to electrify everything.”

If you’re not yet ready to give up your gas appliances, there’s another option to help reduce your climate footprint. In the words of an ELO song you can “turn to stone.” From Quartz – “…One option, if you care about the environment…is to offset your personal carbon use—by turning it into stone. Starting in June, a company called Climeworks began offering customers the option to buy a personal carbon offset subscription. You can choose one of three tiers: €7 a month (~$8) will pay for trapping 85 kg of carbon dioxide in a year (about the same as driving 700 km or 435 miles in a gasoline car); €21 a month will get you 255 kg in a year; and €49 a month will convert 600 kg of carbon dioxide into stone. You can also customize your payments up to as much as €2,000 per month to offset 25,000 kg…Climeworks is one of just three companies in the world that have the technology to draw carbon dioxide from the air, called direct air capture (DAC). And it already has a few small commercial plants running…[one] in Iceland captures carbon dioxide and pumps it underground, where it is converted into stone in less than two years.”

Because it’s Friday afternoon and I have the weekend on my mind, here’s an interesting story about a new vodka. From Breaking News Ireland, “A radioactivity-free vodka produced from crops in Chernobyl’s abandoned zone has been brewed by a team of British scientists. Professor Jim Smith, from the University of Portsmouth, described the artisan vodka – branded Atomik – as ‘possibly the most important bottle of spirits in the world’ as he believed it would help the region recover economically. He said tests on the vodka showed that, following the distillation process, only ‘natural Carbon-14’ radioactivity was found in line with any normal spirit drink. Prof Smith now wants to produce the traditionally-brewed vodka for sale through a social enterprise called The Chernobyl Spirit Company, with 75% of the profits going back to the affected community in Ukraine.” OK — I’m not sure the land has been cleaned to US standards of “unrestricted use” and they mention “the team found some radioactivity in the grain: Strontium-90 is slightly above the cautious Ukrainian limit of 20 Bq/kg.” But that after distilling it went away. I don’t know about you, but I’m still not convinced. However, the Atomik vodka appears to have a wild boar on the label, so if you’ve been enjoying the social media trend this week on wild boars, there’s that.

That’s the recap. Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Uniform reporting of gas leaks sought, Salem News

State delays key review for Weymouth compressor station, Wicked Local

Give Up Your Gas Stove To Save The Planet? Banning Gas Is The Next Climate Push, WBUR

The Leaks That Threaten the Clean Image of Natural Gas, Wall St. Journal

Environmental advocates denounce planned natural gas plant in Killingly, Hartford Courant

Protests will seek to ‘shut down’ Merrimack Station power plant in Bow, Concord Monitor

Too Soon To Know If Gas Disaster Settlement Is Adequate: Rep, Patch

A primer on methane (and cow flatulence), Boston Globe

National Grid takes campaign for gas pipeline to radio, Newsday

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

The UN’s New Climate Warning: “The Land Is Out of Balance”, Atlantic

Power struggle hindering U.S. growth of renewable energy, experts say, UPI

A clean energy breakthrough could be buried deep beneath rural Utah, LA Times

The Renewable Energy Industry: What’s Ahead, Wall Street Journal

Report Highlights Local Leadership on Renewable Energy, WGBH

You can now pay to turn your carbon emissions to stone, Quartz

Climate Change Could Lead to Food Shortages, UN Report Says, YAHOO! News

New Haven-based water utility going ‘green’ to meet power needs, New Haven Register

FuelCell Energy Celebrates 9 Million MWH of Clean Power Generation, YAHOO! News

Double Tax Hits Slows Renewable-Energy Development, ECO RI

GOP senator wants to override Sununu’s biomass bill veto, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Environmental groups accuse state of ‘deeply flawed’ review of biomass changes; call for more input, MassLive

Progressive Idea: Municipal Renewable Energy Utilities, EcoRI

 

Wind

Massachusetts Officials Frustrated By Wind Turbine Court Havoc They Created, Patch

Federal agencies, Vineyard Wind at odds over wind farm setup, Southcoasttoday.com

Dominion invests $1.1B in offshore wind, watches Northeast developments, Utility Dive

R.I. fishermen critical of wind farm plan, Providence Journal

Recreational fishermen want more studies on New York wind farm, South Coast Today

US Wind Farm Development Reaches Record High in Q2, Greentech Media

New York looks to Europe for offshore wind coordination, interconnection models to develop 9 GW, Utility Dive

Governor signs Vineyard Wind easement bill, South Coast Today

 

Solar

New solar canopy saves MWRTA more than $20K in electrical costs, MetroWest Daily News

Floating Solar Gets Ready for the High Seas, Greentech Media

Shared solar program heading towards approval, complaints in tow, Connecticut Mirror

Huge Sanford airport solar project moves forward, Portland Press Herald

UMass Amherst Researchers Develop New Method To Estimate Solar Rooftop Potential, Solar Industry

Joe Kennedy II unveils solar energy program in Revere, Boston Herald

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Using electricity at different times of day could save us billions of dollars, Vox.com

UMass attaches largest label to Dartmouth battery storage system, Herald News

Trump Administration Moves to Finalize Weakening of Car Efficiency Standards, Greentech Media

California opens $1B in efficiency funding to electrification, Utility Dive

 

EVs

It’s Electri-Flying: Cape Air Pioneers Flights Without Fossil Fuels, WBUR

As T plugs into e-buses, new questions about garages, CommonWealth Magazine

 

Nuclear

NRC denies bid to postpone license for nuclear plant, Seacoastonline.com

Chernobyl ‘Sarcophagus’ That Holds in Radiation From the World’s Worst Nuclear Disaster Is About to Cave in Under Its Own Weight, Newsweek

Pilgrim principals oppose delay in license review, Cape Cod Times

A commercial path to fusion, Physics World

Chernobyl vodka: British scientists produce alcohol from nuclear exclusion zone, Breaking News Ireland

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Regulators likely to consider CMP compensation fund by year’s end, Portland Press Herald

Power plant retirements offset nearly 90% of U.S. capacity additions in June, IEEFA

New York Launches Investigation into Electric Resource Adequacy, Microgrid Knowledge

Portsmouth gets win in tax dispute with Eversource, Seacoastonline.com

CMP power line approval ‘replete with errors,’ energy supplier says in appeal, CentralMaine.com

Coal, nuclear could see boost in New England this winter as new tariff goes into effect, Utility Dive

Melrose power buyers beware as officials aim to curb scam suppliers, Wicked Local Melrose

Massachusetts Examines the Feasibility of Microgrid Projects, Microgrid Knowledge

Connecticut Supercharges Plan for World’s Largest Fuel Cell Microgrid at $1 Billion Data Center, Microgrid Knowledge

Timber! Mount Tom Power Plant smokestack demolished, Daily Hampshire Gazette

 

Editorial/Opinion

  1. Maurice Kreis: After the Northern Pass failure, is it time for ‘Rayno Regionalism’?, Conway Daily Sun

Editorial: Paying Homage to the Nuclear Resistance, Valley Advocate

‘Climate Stripes’ show reality of dangerous situation: Op-Ed, New Haven Register

Ohio nuclear and coal bailout is a loss for nuclear power and the climate, Utility Dive

Ehrlich: State needs to transition off natural gas, Daily Item

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Filed under Climate Change, Electric Grid, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, offshore wind, Pilgrim Closing, solar

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