Energy News for week ending March 6, 2020

Mystic Alternatives | P.I.s | Magic’s Uncharted Power

 

Happy Friday folks. Let’s dig in.

We start this week with a story from Jon Chesto at the Boston Globe, “Power-line developers line up for an opportunity to ensure Boston’s lights stay on. The pending closure of the giant Mystic power plant is a headache for the people charged with keeping electricity flowing in Greater Boston. But for power line developers, it’s a business opportunity. ISO New England, which oversees the region’s power grid, on Thursday said that eight developers submitted a total of 36 transmission proposals in a contest unprecedented in New England history. It boils down to this: Who can offer the best way to pick up the slack once Mystic goes away?… They know another massive power plant isn’t going up in Greater Boston anytime soon. So ISO is betting on improving transmission in the region instead to keep the juice flowing. Thus, a contest. Let the market decide: The winning bidder gets ratepayer subsidies from across New England to pay for the project…the region’s main electric utilities, National Grid and Eversource, released information about their submissions to the ISO for low-cost alternatives to Mystic. Each submitted four transmission proposals, with price tags from $48 million to $120 million… Executives at the two utilities say their proposals can be completed without a major new power line or the political headaches that usually accompany such projects…Meanwhile, the power line developer Anbaric submitted two bids involving its plan for an underwater line between the Mystic site and the shuttered Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth…One benefit to using the site of the old nuke plant: It’s a good place to soak up the electricity from offshore wind farms south of Martha’s Vineyard — if and when they finally get built — and channel that power directly to the Boston area.”

There was a lot of news out of Maine this week. County commissioners approve TIF agreement for wind project, The Quoddy Tides. From 0 to 60: Maine’s Solar Market Invigorated Under New Governor, Greentech Media. Opponents of CMP power line have enough signatures for referendum, secretary of state says, Portland Press Herald. Maine regulators reject Canadian company’s plan to buy Emera Maine, Bangor Daily News. And, Lawmakers continue talks on bill to make single consumer-owned utility, WABI.

However it was this story from Dennis Hoey at the Portland Press Herald that particularly caught our attention. “CMP private investigator tailed anti-corridor petitioners. A group that conducted a petition drive opposing a proposed 145-mile transmission line through rural Maine is criticizing Central Maine Power Co. for hiring a private investigator to track a female petitioner’s whereabouts and social media posts as she did her work. But Clean Energy Matters, a political action committee funded by CMP, said it hired the private investigator because it wanted to expose what it says was ‘illegal and unethical activity’ by the woman and eight other petition gatherers for No CMP Corridor – a group opposed to the transmission line. Clean Energy Matters contends its investigator did not specifically target the woman… Clean Energy Matters filed an affidavit with the Maine Secretary of State’s Office last month contending that ‘in addition to her work organizing, supervising and otherwise assisting in the petition gathering effort for the Opponents, documents in your possession will show that (the woman, whose name was redacted from the affidavit) also notarized hundreds, and possibly thousands, of petitions. Maine Election law is eminently clear that persons who notarize petitions for a citizen’s initiative cannot provide any other services… to get that initiative on the ballot,’ the affidavit said…The Secretary of State’s Office says Clean Energy Matters waited too long to bring the alleged signature-gathering violations to the state’s attention, according to a footnote attached to the press release Wednesday announcing that opponents had collected enough valid signatures. The office did not offer an opinion on the legality of the petitioners’ actions…Clean Energy Matters contends that hiring a private investigator to keep tabs on the activities of an opponent in such a campaign is a common practice. Campaign Director Jon Breed accused Howard of attempting to divert public attention from her group’s alleged law-breaking by using ‘CMP as the boogie man.’”

Last highlight for this week comes with a sports angle. From CNBC, “Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson has joined tech company Uncharted Power’s board of directors, the company told CNBC. Uncharted Power, a renewable energy technology company, was founded in 2011 by Jessica O. Matthews, who at age 19, invented SOCCKET, a soccer ball that converts kinetic energy into three hours of power for lighting after an hour of play. Matthews also created PULSE, a jump rope that can generate an hour of light after 15 minutes of use. In his new role, Johnson, 60, will expand Uncharted Power’s energy programs to U.S. communities…Matthews, now 32,  launched her company under the name Uncharted Play, but rebranded in 2017 to Uncharted Power as the company expanded. Matthews said the motivation to enter the energy infrastructure sector came from visiting family in Nigeria, where she discovered Africa’s energy issues. According to the International Energy Agency, 600 million people remain without access to electricity in sub- Saharan Africa. And more energy tech companies are showing up in Africa hoping to take advantage of its off-grid power market that is worth roughly $24 billion, according to a report by consulting firm Kleos Advisory. Uncharted Power says it’s ‘building the internet for decentralized energy’ and aims to create new energy sources through transforming sideways and roadways ‘into a smart, sustainable and accessible power network.’”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to wash your hands – a lot!

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Lawmakers ask DOJ to divert settlement money, Salem News

Eversource purchase of Columbia Gas: Councilor Jesse Lederman calls for hearing in Springfield, MassLive

Gas disaster lawyers contest reduced fees, Eagle Tribune

Baker Cites ‘Real Benefits’ In Eversource-Columbia Gas Deal, WGBH

Trump says he’s ‘fighting’ New York to force gas pipeline, New York Post

Lawmakers Blast NRC for Faulty Analysis of Pipeline Near Plants, The Examiner News

Agency to check review of gas pipeline at NY nuclear plant after report, S&P Global

South Shore Residents Protest Compressor Station In Weymouth, CBS Local

Nathan Phillips, Who Went On Hunger Strike To Stop The Weymouth Compressor Station, Calls On Gov. Baker To Denounce The Project, WGBH

Protesters Temporarily Shut Down Work At National Grid Pipeline Construction Site In Brooklyn, CBS New York

The latest climate commitment from an oil company calls for more drilling, Quartz

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Cuomo wants more state control of solar, wind energy permits, The Buffalo News

Green hydrogen gets real as utility business models and delivery solutions emerge, Utility Dive

Why Hydrogen Stocks Are Soaring, OilPrice.com

Half of world’s sandy beaches at risk from climate change, AP News

‘Net zero’ emissions goal is attainable, advocates say, Telegram.com

E.P.A. Updates Plan to Limit Science Used in Environmental Rules, New York Times

The Congo rainforest is losing ability to absorb carbon dioxide. That’s bad for climate change., Washington Post

Here’s Why So Many People Are Mad at the Aquarium on Twitter, Boston Magazine

Virginia Moves Toward Joining Cap-and-Trade Program, NBC Washington

Brown University divests 90% of fossil fuel holdings, Pensions & Investments

Leading investor group tells companies to set out climate crisis plans, The Guardian

The Sea Is Getting Warmer. Will the Shrimp Get Louder?, Wired

A Renewable Energy Expert Tells Us How to Inspire Communities, Vice

CT offers its own version of Green New Deal, Connecticut Post

LA Lakers great Magic Johnson joins board of renewable energy start-up Uncharted Power, CNBC

 

Wind

New Jersey Sets 7.5GW Offshore Wind Solicitation Schedule, Offshorewind.biz

Wind-power developer opens 2nd R.I. office, Providence Journal

Deal for NB Power transmission of SJ wind farm energy is far from certain, CBC.ca

Offshore Wind to Attract More Than $200B Between 2020 and 2025, Greentech Media

County commissioners approve TIF agreement for wind project, The Quoddy Tides (Maine)

Hydro-Quebec Issues Call for Tenders For Wind Power Integration, North American Windpower

BCC gets $861,000 state grant to train students for wind energy jobs, Sun Chronicle

Vineyard Wind executive offers take on delayed start, Herald News

 

Solar

As Massachusetts solar installs plummet, stalled interconnections, land use questions are key hurdles, Utility Dive

From 0 to 60: Maine’s Solar Market Invigorated Under New Governor, Greentech Media

Solar surge: NY’s renewable energy push brings big project proposals to Cayuga County, Auburn Pub

Coronavirus Is Starting to Slow the Solar Energy Revolution, Bloomberg Green

Nashua leading the way for clean energy with three public solar projects now in operation, New Hampshire Union Leader

York landfill site scoped for solar power potential, Seacoastonline.com

Plans announced for $10M solar project in Strong, Sun Journal

Historic Tiverton barn likely headed for demolition as solar panel farm gets OK, Newport Daily News

Charlestown commission recommends denial of solar developer’s zoning request, Westerly Sun

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Major growth predicted for energy storage market, Digital Journal

Sustainable microgrids are the future of clean energy, TechCrunch

The Energy 202: How a powerful lobbying group got stricter energy efficiency codes out of a big Senate energy bill, Washington Post

NYC cracks down on building efficiency with new energy code, Utility Dive

Environmental Groups Sue U.S. Over Lightbulb Energy Standards, Wall St. Journal

NYC storage ‘most adversely impacted’ by FERC orders: NYISO CEO, Utility Dive

David Energy Raises $1.5M to Turn New York’s Buildings Into Energy Market Players, Greentech Media

Two Years In, New York’s Storage Market Has Grown ‘Faster Than We Expected,’ Utility Dive

 

EVs

State push to promote electric buses faces obstacles, Salem News

Beverly getting first electric school bus, Salem News

GM unveils 11 future EVs, new batteries and its plan to beat Tesla, Detroit Free Press

Electric refuse trucks on the road or on the way in rising number of states, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

NorthStar granted more time for radioactive shipments, Brattleboro Reformer

Former Energy Secretary, Deputy Discuss Nuclear Energy and Climate at IOP, The Crimson

Award Submission: Pilgrim Nuclear Shuts Down, Leaving Radioactive Waste and Unanswered Questions, WCAI (Audio)

Holtec underscores transparency at US plants, World Nuclear News

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Eversource, 7 others propose 36 ISO-NE transmission upgrades to offset loss of Exelon’s Mystic station, Utility Dive

Green Mountain Power’s pioneering steps in transactive energy raise big questions about DER’s value, Utility Dive

Comprehensive Senate energy bill draws industry, bipartisan support, but lags on tax credits, efficiency, Utility Dive

New Kind of Electrical Grid Could End Power Outages, Popular Mechanics

ISO-NE: States Must Lead on Carbon Pricing, RTO Insider (subscriber content)

Additional gas capacity, baseload generation ‘critical’ to maintaining reliability: DOE analysis, Utility Dive

ISO-NE presents final draft 2020 10-Year forecasts for heating electrification and light-duty electric vehicles, (Press Release) ISO-NE

Opponents of CMP power line have enough signatures for referendum, secretary of state says, Portland Press Herald

CMP private investigator tailed anti-corridor petitioners, Portland Press Herald

Energy Infrastructure Outlook Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak, Seeking Alpha

Fast-moving Senate energy bill draws dozens of amendments, Roll Call

Maine regulators reject Canadian company’s plan to buy Emera Maine, Bangor Daily News

Lawmakers continue talks on bill to make single consumer-owned utility, WABI

Consumer-owned utility bill meets Republican resistance, Portland Press Herald

 

Editorial/Opinion

Our View: Fine for gas disaster should stay local, Eagle Tribune

Closing the book on Columbia Gas’ sorry chapter, Lowell Sun

Letter to the editor: Wind is Maine’s ‘magic wand’ for cutting power costs, Portland Press Herald

Tom Hughes: Where TCI came from and where it can take us, VTDigger

Sandra Levine: Climate action for Vermonters, VTDigger

FAN: 2 Reasons Why Wind Power Is Expected To Dominate In 2020, Seeking Alpha

Op-Ed: RGGI Auction Proceeds Should Be Used to Fund Energy Efficiency Programs, NJ Spotlight

Andrew Cuomo’s latest power grab will let him ram through wind farms, New York Post

Turbines on lake are losing proposal, Observer

One advocate’s energy plan: Electrifying energy needs, Riverdale Press (NY)

Renewable debates may get too quiet, Observer

Guest opinion: P.E.I. wind farm not good for environment, Journal Pioneer

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

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