Energy News for week ending November 8, 2019

Batteries vs. Blackouts | High Heat | Phototropism

 

Happy Friday afternoon. We hope you’re all staying warm on this cold and blustery day.

Speaking of windy conditions, we have a story out of Vermont from Greentech Media, “A major rain and wind storm struck the state at the close of October, knocking out power to some 115,000 customers. Among those affected, 1,100 homes managed to keep the lights on thanks to pilot programs specifically designed to promote resilient backup power with energy storage. The battery backup service lasted nine hours on average, but the longest instance stretched to 82 hours…The program previously generated more headlines by saving hundreds of thousands of dollars during annual system peak events than for fulfilling the backup function. In 2018, GMP’s network of batteries reduced consumption during the ISO New England peak hour, saving about $600,000 on capacity fees. This year, a larger number of batteries, totaling 10 megawatts of capacity, responded to a late July peak, saving nearly $900,000 from a single hour of operation.”

For those of us who live in Massachusetts, the news about the cost to heat our homes this winter isn’t good. From the Salem News, “Consumers will dig deeper into their pockets to heat their homes and keep the lights turned on this winter, with electricity and natural gas rates set to increase. Beginning this month, National Grid’s residential electric rates increased by 15.2%, or about $21 a month on average, compared to rates last winter. National Grid’s gas customers, meanwhile, could get a break on their bills. Customers of Boston Gas Company, the company’s subsidiary in the region, will see their monthly bill reduced by about $14, or 7%, this winter compared to last year, depending on how much gas they use and whether it’s for heat, hot water or other uses, according to the utility.…Eversource, which serves about 1.4 million customers in the state, will be filing its proposed winter rates to state regulators on Dec. 1, according to the company. It’s not clear whether or not the utility will request an increase, but any changes to its winter rates would go into effect on Jan. 1, if approved by state regulators. The utility’s natural gas rates, which went into effect on Nov. 1, increased the average monthly bill by about $22 per month, or 14%, compared to last winter.”

For our technology story of the week we look to The Smithsonian, “In recent decades, solar cells have gotten better and cheaper, leading to a boom in the solar energy industry. But most solar panels have one major drawback—they don’t move. That means the sunlight reaching them often comes in at an angle, which hinders maximum power production. But a new light-loving, sunflower-inspired polymer may help boost the productivity of solar panels in the near future. The new polymer, described in a paper in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, is capable of phototropism, or the ability to follow the sun in its daily journey across the sky. Inventor Xiaoshi Qian of the University of California, Los Angeles and the team call the new polymer SunBOT, which stands for sunflower-like biomimetic omnidirectional tracker. Each stem is roughly one millimeter in diameter and infused with a nanomaterial that turns light into heat with a little “flower” coated with solar energy-collecting material at the top. When light hits one side of the stem, the material heats up and shrinks, bending the stem points directly at the light source while it moves around and strikes from various angles…Seung-Wuk Lee, a bioengineer at the University of California, Berkeley, not involved in the study, tells Sofie Bates at Science News that the most promising use of the SunBOTs would be integrating the material with solar cells, which could give solar technology a huge boost. Currently, solar cells capture about 24 percent of the sunlight available. By allowing the cells to operate at a near-maximum absorption rate almost all day long, the SunBOTS could boost that 90 percent, reports Bates.”

That’s the recap for this week. Enjoy the news articles below and have a wonderful weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

National Grid, Eversource Say They Can Meet Natural Gas Demand Without Weymouth Compressor, WBUR

Shifting Demand Fuels Weymouth Compressor Debate, WBUR

Weymouth Compressor Station’s Permit Is Delayed Again, WBUR

State board details rejection of Burrillville natural gas plant, Providence Business News

Renewables growth, market changes tanked Invenergy’s Rhode Island gas plant, regulators say, Utility Dive

Raimondo: National Grid needs to be held accountable after January gas outage, WPRI 12

R.I. regulators OK temporary natural-gas facility in Portsmouth, Providence Journal

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Renewable Energy: What Happens When the Sun Isn’t Shining and the Wind Isn’t Blowing, WCAI

Can farmers sow their way out of climate change?, CBS News

Can Tidal Stream Energy Finally Turn the Corner?, Greentech Media

A Massachusetts company wants to build three hydroelectric plants to harness power from Lehigh Valley rivers, dams, The Morning Call

New reactor could halve carbon dioxide emissions from ammonia production, Science Magazine

Tamil Nadu to ink pact on renewable energy with Massachusetts, The Hindu

GE makes ‘big play’ in clean energy, MetroWest Daily News

Worcester contracts with electricity supplier to boost amount of renewable energy, Telegram

 

Wind

Who’s in charge of Mass. offshore wind procurements?, CommonWealth Magazine

State approves power-purchase contract with UMaine wind project, Portland Press Herald

Maine utility regulators approve tests for floating wind turbine project off Maine coast, MainePublic.org

Developing Wind Farm in New York Is No Breeze, Wall Street Journal

Vineyard Wind Pushes IRS for Subsidy Extension on Delayed Offshore Project, Greentech Media

Wind Turbine Size Changes Could Jeopardize Approvals; Agency Seeks PSC Review, The Dispatch (Maryland)

Scituate: Noise Compliance Test Near Finalization for Wind Turbine, WATD

Turbines, Petition Articles Highlights At Falmouth Precinct Meeting, Falmouth Enterprise

Town board accepts study findings, Observer Today (New York)

GE’s Culp makes rare appearance in Charlestown to welcome wind turbine blade, Boston Business Journal

A Wind Turbine Blade Bigger Than Big Ben Will Be Battered In Boston, WBUR

Fengate Acquires Maine Wind Project from Longroad Energy Partners, on Behalf of Investors, NA Clean Energy

Ørsted offers $100 million to southeastern Connecticut in offshore wind bid, The Day

UMass Amherst Researchers Receive $1.175 Million Grant To Build New Software to Simulate Off-Shore Wind Turbines, UMass (press release)

 

Solar

Tetra Tech pushes solar power on closed landfills as a clear winner for operators and owners, Utility Dive

Sunlight-Tracking Polymer, Inspired by Sunflowers, Could Maximize Solar Power, Smithsonian

Shepard Steel Turns on New Solar Energy System; Early Production Exceeds Estimates, Business Insider

Prices are down and capacity is up as solar and wind take hold, Financial Times

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

An Energy Breakthrough Could Store Solar Power for Decades, Bloomberg

States, NGOs sue DOE for reversing lightbulb standards as global energy efficiency progress stalls, Utility Dive

Batteries vs. Blackouts: 1,100 Homes Powered Through Vermont Outage With Storage, Greentech Media

Two National Grid Projects Selected as Energy Storage North America 2019 Innovation Award Winner, CSR Wire

Profiles in Connecticut innovation: High-energy Cadenza makes power storage more efficient, Hartford Courant

New Flow Batteries Could Accelerate an Electrical Grid Powered by the Sun and Wind, SciTech Daily

State awards funds for energy efficient affordable housing, WWLP

 

EVs

Electric vehicles could help climate change – by RETURNING power to the grid, Chronicle Live

WoodMac: Workplace EV Charging Is on the Rise, Greentech Media

EV Charging Trends: Solar Absorption, Demand Response, Green Charging, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Nuclear

Feds Exempt Shuttered Pilgrim From Emergency Requirements, WBUR

Why the U.K. Is Pushing Nuclear Power as Others Waver, Bloomberg

An Indian nuclear power plant suffered a cyberattack. Here’s what you need to know., Washington Post

Clearwater Appeals Decision On Nuclear Subsidies, WAMC (NY)

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

First cyberattack on solar, wind assets revealed widespread grid weaknesses, analysts say, Utility Dive

National Grid’s president of US business exits suddenly, Syracuse.com

Heating costs expected to rise, Salem News

Northfield electricity aggregation awaiting DPU approval, Greenfield Recorder

Eversource’s 3Q profits rise as utility giant remains bullish on wind business, Hartford Business

Farms Can Harvest Energy Along with Food, Scientific American

Raimondo, McKee to push tougher utility regs after report blames National Grid, Enbridge for loss of heat on Aquidneck, Providence Journal

$13M Ipswich River substation has been completed, Daily Item

7 Questions For New England Grid Chief Gordon Van Welie, Law360

National Grid Announces Changes to U.S. Leadership, MarketWatch

More airports consider going off the grid as power outages ground flights, CNBC

New ‘energizing’ career for vets, WTNH

Woolwich votes to withdraw support for CMP corridor, Portland Press Herald

Opponents of CMP corridor ramp up petition efforts, push for statewide vote, Newscentermaine.com

 

Editorial/Opinion

Columnist Marty Nathan: Abandonment of gas pipeline a win for climate, region, Daily Hampshire Gazette

The last gasp of natural gas, Utility Dive

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Filed under Electric Grid, Electricity Costs, Energy Efficiency, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, offshore wind, Pilgrim Closing, solar

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