Energy News for week ending January 24, 2020

Ambitious Goals | New oil | Nuclear diamonds

Happy Friday afternoon folks. Let’s get to this week’s news highlights.

Over the past week or so the leaders of two New England states set dates for reaching some ambitious renewable energy and emissions goals. From the Providence Journal, “Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Friday that sets Rhode Island on the path to getting all of the state’s electric supply from renewable sources by the end of the decade. While Rhode Island is not the first state to adopt a 100% renewables target, the timeline put forth by Raimondo is the most aggressive in the nation. In a speech before the signing, the governor said that transforming the state’s energy system is needed to fight climate change…‘The bad news is climate change is real, urgent, closing in on us,’ she said. ‘The good news is Rhode Island is a leader in the fight against climate change. Today is about maintaining our leadership position and pushing ourselves to do more, go faster.’”

In Massachusetts, Governor Baker set a target of 2050 for taking the state to net-zero emissions. From CommonWealth Magazine, “Gov. Charlie Baker’s top energy aide said his proposal for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 puts Massachusetts among a very small group of states and countries attempting to limit the impact of climate change. Kathleen Theoharides, the governor’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said Massachusetts is joining Hawaii, New York, and California in pursuing net-zero emissions by 2050…Net-zero is an imprecise term. It doesn’t mean the state will cease all greenhouse gas emissions. It means, according to Theoharides, that the state will attempt to reduce emissions as much as possible through the development of renewable, low-emission forms of energy; aggressive energy efficiency programs; and sequestration efforts, including the development of new forests and wetlands. Theoharides said policies could also be developed that would allow polluters to offset their emissions by buying some form of credit, with the proceeds being used to produce more renewable energy generating fewer emissions. The secretary acknowledged that the state’s economy is likely to change dramatically over the next few decades to meet the emission target.”

The Massachusetts senate is also getting in on the action. From WBUR, “The Massachusetts Senate next week plans to take up a far-reaching package of climate bills whose major components include an electric MBTA bus fleet by 2040, carbon-pricing mechanisms for transportation, homes and commercial buildings, and a series of five-year greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements that ramp up to net-zero emissions in 2050. The three bills, teed up for debate on Thursday, Jan. 30, with amendments due by Monday, amount to what Senate President Karen Spilka called a ‘comprehensive plan for the state’ to respond to an international issue: global climate change.”

Greentech Media’s Interchange podcast this week looked at the reemergence of renewable hydrogen. “Less than 1 percent of all hydrogen produced today comes from renewables. Is that about to change? The vice president of Siemens Middle East just predicted that green hydrogen will assume the mantle of the ‘new oil’ in the coming decades. A lot of big industrial companies and oil majors are taking another serious look at hydrogen. Why? In an era of extremely cheap renewables that are increasingly being curtailed, hydrogen production could finally become an attractive use case, due in part to the emerging regulatory pressures on existing hydrogen production.”

For our new energy technology focus we turn to Popular Mechanics. “Scientists in England are trying to recycle decommissioned nuclear plant materials into cutting-edge diamond batteries. The pressing of this kind of carbon into manufactured diamonds is called chemical vapor deposition…By ‘encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds,’ lead researcher Tom Scott of the University of Bristol says the graphite can be turned into durable, extremes-tolerant electricity via diamond batteries. The secret is in harvesting the radioactive carbon-14 isotope from the plant’s supply of spent graphite. Scott says the factory to turn graphite carbon into diamonds for batteries could be built on the same spot as the decommissioned plant. The carbon has a half life of over 5,000 years, giving a diamond battery an overall life span, well, thousands of times more than the hearing aid battery or the pair of AAAs that powers your remote control. And because the radioactivity is encased within a diamond, there’s no chance it will break down before it runs out of juice.”

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Weymouth compressor opponents occupy Mass DEP office, Wicked Local

Weymouth councilors raise concerns over trucks at compressor site, Wicked Local

Residents still pushing for asbestos testing at compressor site, Patriot Ledger

Five states raise alarms about EPA coal-fired power plant waste disposal proposal, The Hill

Film explores region’s gas disaster, Eagle-Tribune

Environmental officials want to reverse course on natural gas, Journal Inquirer

Natural-Gas Prices Fall Below $2, Wall St. Journal

Gas Exports Have a Dirty Secret: A Carbon Footprint Rivaling Coal’s, Bloomberg Green

Renewable energy is growing fast in the U.S., but fossil fuels still dominate, Pew Research Center

The Reason Fossil Fuel Companies Are Finally Reckoning With Climate Change, Time

 

TCI

While Gov. Charlie Baker opposes gas tax, opponents say Transportation and Climate Initiative a ‘hidden tax,’ MassLive

Poll shows Massachusetts majority oppose cost of TCI, Boston Herald

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Could Green Hydrogen Become the ‘New Oil’?, Greentech Media

How to Get to 100% Renewables? Use Microgrids Says Plan for Cranston, Rhode Island, Microgrid Knowledge

Raimondo orders 100% clean electricity in R.I. by 2030, Providence Journal

Cuomo plots course to accelerate renewable energy development, Politico

Don’t celebrate yet: Clean energy jobs have slipped in Mass., Boston Globe

Bill For A N.H. State Climate Action Plan Gets First Hearing, NHPR

Package Of State House Climate Bills Would Apply Carbon Pricing To All Emissions, WBUR

Net-zero target called most aggressive in world, CommonWealth Magazine

Carbon finds itself in Beacon Hill’s crosshairs, Lowell Sun

Energy chief: Deregulation, Trump slowing carbon-free progress, Connecticut Post

Dorset residents pay less energy bills with renewable scheme, Dorset Echo

Energy office set to begin work on new renewable energy goal, WRAL

Environment Council of R.I. disappointed in Mattiello’s climate change comments, Boston Globe

What Would an Accelerated Global Energy Transition Look Like?, Greentech Media

FERC Faces Heat Over State Clean Energy Subsidies Order, Law360

 

Wind

Proposed Vermont wind project halts development, citing hostile political environment, Wind Power Engineering

NYS invests $20M into offshore wind training institute at SBU, SBStatesman.com

Murphy signs bill expanding definition of qualified offshore wind project, NJ Biz

Inside New York’s Push to Be ‘Center of Gravity’ for US Offshore Wind, Greentech Media

Vestas to Produce Zero-Waste Wind Turbines by 2040, NA Clean Energy

After Years Of Slow Action On Climate Change, What Sets Offshore Wind Apart For N.H.?, NHPR

Looking for a windfall from offshore wind farms, Newsday

Redevelopment plan for State Pier expected to be more costly than projected, The Day

Offshore wind key as Rhode Island sets 100% clean-energy goal for 2030, Recharge

Orsted US team targets whale protection, reNEWS

The US is set to experience yet a new energy revolution: Offshore Wind, Energy Voice

Huge crowd packs OC hearing, Energy Central

Blade breaks off wind turbine in Cohocton, Evening Tribune

Heritage Wind to file application for up to 33 wind turbines in Barre, (NY) The Daily News

Public hearing set on financial contributions from proposed wind farm, Ellsworth American

 

Solar

She’s Taking on Elon Musk on Solar. And Winning., New York Times

Kearsarge, NEC Energy Complete Amesbury Solar+ Storage Project, Solar Industry

Commercial solar project eyed for Woodstock, Sun Journal

33 RIPTA buses get solar system developed by Warwick company, Cranston Herald

America’s Concentrated Solar Power Companies Have All but Disappeared, Greentech Media

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

2020 Outlook: From light bulbs to dishwashers, court battles to continue on DOE’s efficiency moves, Utility Dive

Energy Storage As A Transmission Asset In Regional Markets, Law360

State approves $2B energy efficiency incentive plan, Times Union

City Comptroller Scott Stringer calls on de Blasio to commit $1 billion per year to energy efficiency, New York Daily News

Home energy efficiency could be improved significantly through simple tweaks like roof colour, ABC News

Eversource and Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa Partner on Eco-Friendly, Cost-Saving Upgrades, NA Clean Energy

 

EVs

Electric school buses latest stop on Maine’s climate-change journey, Portland Press Herald

Automakers: New tech, battery advances will curb EV range anxiety, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

NRC Asks: Do You Want A Hearing On Sale Of Indian Point, Patch.com

Lawmakers seek safeguards on nuclear plant decommissioning, Taunton Gazette

State AG: ‘Grave concerns’ over Indian Point nuclear plant decommissioning, Ithaca Journal

How to Turn Nuclear Waste Into Diamond Batteries, Popular Mechanics

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Augusta puzzled over Janet Mills’ call to reconsider utility regulations, Bangor Daily News

Maine regulators vote to investigate CMP’s winter disconnect notices, Press Herald

NY to pay another $6M to firm that took millions in disgraced Empire Zone breaks, Syracuse.com

The Limits of Environmental Activism From BlackRock’s Larry Fink, Wall St. Journal

New York ISO carbon pricing proposal ‘in a holding pattern,’ says grid chief, Utility Dive

As Mass. Considers Carbon Pricing, Conn. Takes ‘Serious Look’ At Exiting Regional Power Market, WBUR

 

Editorial/Opinion

A path forward for New England to a low-carbon future: Why a capacity market still matters, Utility Dive

Baker’s net-zero goal is business-as-usual, CommonWealth Magazine

Column: Setting climate solutions into action, Salem News

Letter: Balentine needs to get his facts straight on CMP line, Portland Press Herald

The Universal Notebook: CMP project supported by old guard ‘environmentalists’, Portland Press Herald

Maine Compass: Climate change, not CMP project, is the real enemy, Kennebec Journal

Editorial: Keeping heat on in Rhode Island, Providence Journal

Guest Opinion: Rhode Island needs real environmental action in 2020, Westerly Sun

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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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