Energy News for week ending January 31, 2020

Inevitability | Maine Potential | Called Out | Barn Inspired

 

TGIF!

It has been a busy week so let’s get this done and get to the news.

We start with a story from Greentech Media, “Where does the natural gas bridge end? Adnan Amin, former director-general of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and current senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, argued that the role of natural gas is being overstated in most forecasts. ‘We have been talking about, for the last few years, gas as the bridge,’ Amin said during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. ‘There is an inevitability about bridges, which is that sooner or later you get to the end of the bridge…’ Within the next decade, renewables are expected to be cheaper than even existing gas plants, prompting the question of stranded assets…Meg Gentle of Tellurian acknowledged that the industry needs to do more to reduce emissions over the lifecycle of the product, from the wellhead to the ship. Potential solutions include blocking methane leaks, investing in carbon capture and sequestration, and purchasing carbon offsets, she said. But even these steps still may not be enough.”

Next, we move from the possible end to the big potential. From the Bangor Daily News, “Maine has the potential to power itself through wind. Maine currently uses more fossil-fuel produced energy than any of the other New England States. The solution to reducing, and even eliminating, that dependency could lay in state’s potential to produce much of the energy it needs through wind generated power…According to the American Wind Energy Association, Maine has enough reliable wind blowing over land to produce 69,797 megawatts of power annually. With developing technology in offshore wind generated power, there is the potential for an additional 94,498 megawatts of power. Combined, it’s more than enough to power the state.”

Speaking of Maine, its Attorney General joined forces with its counterparts in Connecticut and Massachusetts to call out ISO New England for anti-competitive practices. From WSHU, “Officials from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine say the operator of New England’s regional power grid is unfairly blocking competition. Officials say ISO New England has labeled every project since 2011 as an emergency, which allowed them to limit bidding. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and other officials sent a letter to federal energy regulators. ‘I am calling on ISO New England to open up transmission work to competitive bidding. It doesn’t make any sense that we don’t encourage competition in that space to get the lowest bid possible.’ Tong says competition could save ratepayers millions of dollars. Connecticut’s electricity prices are among the highest in the nation…A spokesperson for ISO New England says the organization properly applied its federally approved tariff and has implemented a competitive solicitation in the Boston area.”

Energy efficiency stories seem to be in short supply lately. So when we find one that is combined with gorgeous photos, we tend to swoon. From Inhabitat, “Charming, energy-efficient cottages are inspired by barns in rural Massachusetts. Almost 10 years ago, a developer purchased a plot of land in Massachusetts that had three timber greenhouses dating back to the 1940s. Wanting to update the structures into livable, eco-friendly homes, the developer tasked architect Grigori Fateyev with breathing new life into the old structures. But the design process led to the replacement of the old buildings with a series of contemporary eco-homes that were built following passive design principles.”

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Blocking Trains and Removing Coal, Climate Activists Fight to Close One of New England’s Largest Power Plants, Common Dreams

Where Does the Natural Gas ‘Bridge’ End?, Greentech Media

ISO-NE: Natural Gas Remains King In New England Even As Wind & Solar Climb, New Hampshire Public Radio

State To Install Permanent Air Monitoring Station In Weymouth, WBUR

Weymouth: Faith Leaders Voice Opposition to Proposed Compressor Station, WATD-FM

New Jersey Sets Goal to Cut Natural Gas Use 80% by 2050, Bloomberg

National Grid hasn’t needed short-term measures to handle gas crisis, Newsday

States Tells Justices $7B Pipeline Can’t Cross Trail, Law360

Gas Exports Have a Dirty Secret: A Carbon Footprint Rivaling Coal’s, Yahoo! News

New York creeps closer to coal divestment from pension funds, MarketWatch

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Senate agrees to sharp shift in state climate policies, Herald News

In Senate climate bills, lawmakers see new jobs, economic opportunity for Western Massachusetts, MassLive

Tarr: Costs missing from climate policy package, Salem News

Renewables Set to Overtake Natural Gas in US Power Mix, EIA Says, Greentech Media

Can the US power sector significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2040? Not according to EIA, Utility Dive

State faces calls to act more swiftly on climate change, AP

Northeast governors slow to embrace regional climate pact, CT Post

New Jersey outlines sweeping plans to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050, Utility Dive

How Maine could emit zero carbon by 2050 without more energy spending, Bangor Daily News

Geothermal’s surprise: Cheap renewables could keep states from achieving climate goals, Utility Dive

State energy secretary seeks support for Baker’s climate plan, MassLive

High school, college students push for stronger climate change legislation at State House, WCVB Channel 5 Boston

Senate climate bills would push state to adopt carbon pricing, Boston Globe

Gov. Murphy announces a plan for 100% clean energy by 2050, Connecticut Post

The Energy 202: If the U.S. doesn’t change course, carbon emissions will rise again in the 2030s, Washington Post

GE’s Turnaround Slowed by Struggling Renewable Energy Division, Greentech Media

Massachusetts Senate to consider climate change amendments on electric car rebates, solar projects, MassLive

 

Wind

EDPR and Engie Join Forces With Aim to Rank Among Top 5 Offshore Wind Developers, Greentech Media

Ports and Harbors: How US Offshore Wind Developers Are Anchoring Their Claims, Greentech Media

Maine has the potential to power itself through wind, Bangor Daily News

Offshore Wind Energy is Key to New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, Alt Energy Mag

The Hot New US Wind Market: Crowded East Coast States, Greentech Media

First of two hearings highlights wind farm’s TIF terms with county, The Quoddy Tides

Fed review of offshore wind projects raises concerns over delays, Newsday

NJEDA seeks input to support state’s growing offshore wind industry, NJBIZ

 

Solar

Solar panel proposal in Hopkinton would affect large forest, MetroWest Daily News

The MBTA built solar panels in Hingham over a year ago. They’re still not generating electricity., Patriot Ledger

NYC’s roofs are getting a sustainable makeover, but is green or solar better?, Utility Dive

MIT and NREL researchers outline a pathway to slashing solar costs faster for industry expansion, PV Buzz

Bath sheds lights on solar power option, Press Herald

Q&A: Jeffrey Peck on solar’s growth and going public, VTDigger

IREC grades all community solar programs and only gives two A’s, leedpoints.com

For cheaper solar cells, thinner really is better, Science Daily

MIT researchers see solar modules reaching well below 20¢ per watt, pv magazine International

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Charming, energy-efficient cottages are inspired by barns in rural Massachusetts, Inhabitat

Everyone’s Favorite Climate Solution Has a Fire Problem, Bloomberg Green

 

Nuclear

Bill would force Seabrook Station, power plants to pay more taxes, Seacoastonline.com

Scientists develop a concept of a hybrid thorium reactor, Phys.org

Rolls-Royce plans mini nuclear reactors by 2029, BBC

LIPA’s tab for nuclear plant subsidy could be $820M over 10 years, Newsday

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

New England AGs Call Out Power Grid Operator Over Anti-Competitive Practices, WSHU

How to Safeguard Against Cyberattacks on Utilities, Harvard Business Review

Bid to make Avangrid subsidiary publicly owned could have financial impact, CT Insider (Subscriber content)

A top analyst breaks down the 3 little-known industries that are quietly shaping the future global energy economy, Business Insider

New utility cooperative CEO calls for focus on future planning, The Day

Maine PUC billing investigation ends; CMP charged with $10M penalty to shareholders, News Center Maine

9 things to know about the CMP billing probe, Bangor Daily News

CMP admits poor handling of winter disconnect notices, Portland Press Herald

CMP files response to Maine PUC, outlining corrective actions company plans to take, WCSH-TV

Report: Nuclear, wind power contracts put Connecticut ratepayers at risk, CT Insider (Subscriber content)

 

Editorial/Opinion

2 simple steps to address climate change, CommonWealth Magazine

Her assignment from Baker: Save the environment, Boston Globe

Healey: Stop individual residential electricity sales, CommonWealth Magazine

New York’s First Offshore Wind Contracts Are Done – Now What?, Energy Central

Editorial: CT right to reconsider future power needs, Connecticut Post

Letter to the Editor: Clean energy an economic development opportunity for Maine, Portland Press Herald

Let the 2020s be a decade of climate action, Hartford Courant

Maine Voices: Amid corner-cutting on CMP corridor plan, citizens’ hands are tied, Portland Press Herald

Maine Compass: CMP project a bad deal for Maine, Kennebec Journal

Massachusetts is a leader on climate change — but it can do better, Boston Globe

Energy efficiency slows climate change, saves money. Why haven’t we embraced it more?, USA Today

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

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