Energy News for week ending September 13, 2019

Still recovering | Energy constrained | Sputtering Solar | Night light

 

Good Friday (The 13!) afternoon. You can tell summer is “over” because the dearth of energy news has ended. Let’s get at it.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Merrimack Valley explosions. We have several articles related to the topic below, but highlight this one from the Boston Globe, “A year later, Merrimack Valley is still recovering from the Columbia Gas disaster. The devastating gas explosions that tore through the Merrimack Valley a year ago Friday remain fresh for thousands of the evacuated and displaced, for the owners of recovering businesses, and for the family of a Lawrence teenager who was killed in the disaster. Its memories return with the whirring sound of a helicopter’s blades, with a glimpse of out-of-place pavement where new gas lines have been laid, and with shrunken balance sheets at once-shuttered stores that are trying to woo back customers. On Thursday, the lingering sense of unease was compounded with news that Columbia Gas of Massachusetts will need to reinspect 700 of 4,900 service lines that the company abandoned and replaced after the explosions in Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover. Columbia Gas discovered in July that two abandoned service lines might not have been capped properly or identified in compliance with government regulations, according to Scott Ferson, a company spokesman. As a result, hundreds of residents and business owners are being contacted to schedule yet another utility inspection around the grim anniversary. Columbia Gas officials insisted that the public is not at risk. But for many residents, the timing made it hard not to worry.”

The headline makes it sound grim, but the story tells a more positive tale. From Utility Dive, “New England grid operator sees potential for year-round power constraints. New England officials expect the region’s electric grid will remain reliable and economic, largely due to approximately $1.3 billion in planned transmission upgrades over the next 10 years. In the near-term, the region will look to efficiency, renewables and imports…The grid operator says it has identified long-term system needs for the Boston area, and its Regional System Plan indicates it will solicit competitive solutions. Transmission improvements are already underway in those areas, as is the addition of fast-start generation…Overall, grid officials say the system is becoming cleaner, with lower emissions from the widespread development of renewables. Other strategies, including more Canadian hydroelectricity imports, grid modernization efforts and the addition of energy storage will likely continue that trend…The operator’s plan concludes it has sufficient resources through 2028 to meet resource adequacy planning criterion, though that is dependent on there being no major retirements and projects coming online as planned.”

A few weeks ago we noticed that solar stories were in short order. That’s not the case this week. Here’s an interesting one from Microgrid Knowledge, “What to do about Massachusetts’ Sputtering Solar Market? With solar installations down dramatically in Massachusetts, a national advocacy group is calling for the state to triple its solar energy target to 4,800 MW. In a new report, Vote Solar says that the policy change is crucial if the state expects to meet its clean energy goals and generate solar jobs. The new target would apply to Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART), a program launched last year to incentivize 1,600 MW of solar — 3,200 MW shy of what Vote Solar says is needed. Vote Solar called for the new target following a 50% reduction in new solar installations, primarily in Massachusetts’ residential sector. The advocacy organization calculates that its more aggressive solar energy target would put the state on track to achieve its 35% renewable energy requirement by 2030, create between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs and drive more than $5 billion in investments to the state.

Last highlight for this week comes from the New York Times, “Transformative? New Device Harvests Energy in Darkness. It doesn’t generate much power, but it works during the one time of day that solar cells can’t: night…In new research published on Thursday in the journal Joule, Dr. Raman demonstrated a way to harness a dark night sky to power a light bulb. His prototype device employs radiative cooling, the phenomenon that makes buildings and parks feel cooler than the surrounding air after sunset. As Dr. Raman’s device releases heat, it does so unevenly, the top side cooling more than the bottom. It then converts the difference in heat into electricity. In the paper, Dr. Raman described how the device, when connected to a voltage converter, was able to power a white LED.

Those are the highlights for this week. Enjoy the stories below and have a wonderful weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

A year later, Merrimack Valley is still recovering from the Columbia Gas disaster, Boston Globe

One Year After Disaster, How Are Merrimack Valley Businesses Faring?, WGBH

Columbia Gas facing up to $1 million fines for abandoned gas service lines following Merrimack Valley explosions, MassLive

Board demands safety report from Columbia Gas, Eagle Tribune

Monitors on gas projects still not mandated, Eagle Tribune

Most states don’t require engineers to review gas projects, Eagle Tribune

Report: Natural gas system’s flaws put public at risk, Newburyport Daily News

After State Rejects Gas Pipeline Permit, Utility Pushes Back. One Result: New Buildings Go Electric., Inside Climate News

NY Attorney General launching inquiry into National Grid gas service moratorium, New York Daily News

National Grid and NY governor tussle over energy supplies, Financial Times

Gas Plants Will Get Crushed by Wind, Solar by 2035, Study Says, Bloomberg

Charlton’s lawyer for LNG plant resigns, Telegram.com

A Giant Bet Against Natural Gas Is Blowing Up, Wall St. Journal

Sununu signs bill prohibiting oil and gas development in state waters, New Hampshire Union Leader

Environmentalists clash with Lamont as natural gas plant set for Killingly tests Connecticut’s promise to address climate change, Hartford Courant

Wayland resident: Gov. Baker, Merkel, and the Weymouth Compressor Station, Wicked Local

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

MASSACHUSETTS: One of America’s leading carbon cutters hits a wall, E&E News (paywall)

Solar ITC Extension Would Be ‘Devastating’ for US Wind Market: WoodMac, Greentech Media

As Earth faces climate catastrophe, US set to open nearly 200 power plants, USA Today

How warm oceans supercharge deadly hurricanes, National Grid

Connecticut 100% carbon-free plan is chance to move beyond ISO-NE gas focus: DEEP chief, Utility Dive

Transformative? New Device Harvests Energy from Darkness, New York Times

Trade group raises monopoly concerns over GMP’s Tesla program, VTDigger

Study: Emissions in Rhode Island are higher than calculated, New Haven Register

New Plan Charts Burlington’s Course Toward Becoming ‘Net Zero’ City, NECN

Climate Town Hall: Several Democratic Candidates Embrace a Carbon Tax, New York Times

Banks Are Finally Starting to Account for Climate Change Risk, Bloomberg

State environmental groups urge override of clean energy bill vetoes, Concord Monitor

How to Get Rid of Carbon Emissions: Pay Farmers to Bury Them, Wall St. Journal

Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world, Washington Post

 

Wind

Unfurling The Waste Problem Caused By Wind Energy, NPR

Offshore Wind-Power Prices Are Plunging, Bloomberg

Fishermen frustrated at turbine distance in wind farm plans, Providence Journal

NJEDA’s offshore wind registry tops 400 businesses, NJBIZ

Ortt Hosts Forum on the Health Effects of Wind Turbines, WBEN

Enel turns Gillette Stadium green with wind energy, EVWind

 

Solar

What to do about Massachusetts’ Sputtering Solar Market?, Microgrid Knowledge

Solar backlash may make it tough to build larger projects in Mass., Boston Globe

A company suggested installing solar panels near Virginia Civil War battlefields. Locals raged — and what happened next will happen again, experts say., Washington Post

Proctor eyes possible solar sites, Rutland Herald

Court sends solar project back to regulators, Bennington Banner

Lebanon city properties to get solar panels, New Hampshire Union Leader

Bipartisan Senate bill allocates $100M to ease residential solar, storage permitting, Utility Dive

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

DOE has decided many lightbulbs don’t have to meet efficiency standards, Ars Technica

Report finds zero energy buildings within reach for many in Mass, Patch

Biggest Battery System Inches N.Y. Toward 100% Green Energy Goal, Bloomberg

 

EVs

Massachusetts Electric Car Rebates Are About to End. What Does This Mean For Their Future?, WGBH

 

Nuclear

AG Maura Healey seeks extension after missing NRC deadline, Cape Cod Times

Federal grant to help Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station employees laid off after shutdown, Cape Cod Times

C-10: Seabrook plant’s concrete degradation poses threat, Seacoastonline.com

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station advisory panel laments lack of clout, Cape Cod Times

Small modular reactors, nearing operation, touted as solution to some of nuclear industry’s ills, S&P Global

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

New England grid operator sees potential for year-round power constraints, Utility Dive

Cyber-security incident at US power grid entity linked to unpatched firewalls, ZDNet

Proposed bill would require local referendum on large-scale energy projects, Lockport Journal

5 States Blazing the Trail for Integrating Distributed Energy Resources, Greentech Media

Eversource abandons plans for new utility box on Amherst Town Common, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Stalemate over remote pond holds up state panel’s decision on CMP power line, Portland Press Herald

 

Editorial/Opinion

Column: Safety standards, accountability must enforced after gas disaster, Eagle Tribune

Andrew Cuomo’s energy policies are counterproductive for the climate: Today, natural gas is a cleaner fuel than alternatives, NY Daily News

The Climate Crisis Deserves Everything We’ve Got. Nuclear Power, Too, WBUR

No more subsidies for bio-mass, Foster’s Daily Democrat

N.H. Plant Protest Shows Conflicting Ideals Of Some Environmentalists, Post-Journal

The Climate Crisis Deserves Everything We’ve Got. Nuclear Power, Too, WBUR

LETTER: Sun far from set on Massachusetts’ solar ambitions, Southcoasttoday.com

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

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