Energy News for week ending March 20, 2020

Protect marine life | The neighbors hate it | Initial approval

TGIF. We hope everyone is staying well and following all public health rules for keeping us all safe in these crazy times. Sticking together while staying apart may be an oxymoron but it’s a lifesaving one. That’s today’s public service announcement.

By the way, we have a whole section on the coronavirus and Covid-19 and its effects on the energy industry below. But for our part, we’ve selected three other stories to highlight to give you a break from that news.

From North American Wind Power, “Greentown Labs, a North American cleantech incubator, and Vineyard Wind, developer of the first utility-scale offshore wind energy generation facility in the U.S., are accepting applications for the Offshore Wind Challenge. Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind are seeking submissions from startups that are innovating in marine mammal monitoring, either surrounding data collection and real-time transmission or data analysis…The Offshore Wind Challenge is for startups with a technology readiness level between three and six and a proof of concept that can be brought to a state of practice.”

They say good fences make good neighbors, but I don’t think a fence will help this guy. From the New York Times, “He Set Up a Big Solar Farm. His Neighbors Hated It. Neighbors used to wave to Timothy Masters whenever he stood outside his cherry-red barn, trading hellos across his corn and soybean fields in this small town about 10 miles north of Niagara Falls. That ended about a year ago, when a field of solar panels was deposited on 18 acres of Mr. Masters’s land. Mr. Masters, the building inspector in Lewiston, is among a growing number of landowners trying to cash in on New York State’s push toward renewable energy: The solar company now leasing his land, he said, pays him 20 times more than the soybean farmer who had previously rented it. But by replacing lush green soybean plants with rows of silicon and metal solar panels, Mr. Masters has found himself the target of a growing backlash against the spread of solar farms in rural areas.”

Last up for this week, from the Portland Press Herald, “CMP power line project wins initial approval from Maine DEP. Central Maine Power Co.’s plan to build a transmission line through western Maine’s mountains cleared a significant hurdle [last] Friday when the Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft permit for the $1 billion project. The initial approval puts significant conditions on the project to limit its impacts, in one instance decreasing the width of the corridor to nearly one-third of what the company had requested. In announcing the order, the DEP said in a statement that its approval ‘requires an unprecedented level of environmental and natural resource protection in the permitting of Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect Project.’ But opponents of the project were quick to dismiss the permit order as doing little to protect Maine’s environment and resources, and some foes called out the DEP for announcing its decision while the state is focused on battling the coronavirus pandemic.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend and stay healthy.

Coronavirus/Covid-19

‘An immediate and dramatic business concern’: How COVID-19 is disrupting the energy sector, Utility Dive

What COVID-19 and Climate Change Have in Common, Greentech Media

Coronavirus response should promote clean energy — IEA, Axios

For Wind and Solar Sectors, Biggest Coronavirus Risk May Be a Damaged Economy, Greentech Media

Coronavirus fallout could be the ‘nail in the coffin’ for smaller oil companies, Grist

What climate change can teach us about fighting the coronavirus, Hartford Courant

Pandemic Creating ‘Crisis’ for Solar Industry, Power Magazine

Keeping the Lights On: US Utility Sector Braces for Coronavirus Impact, Greentech Media

U.S. Power Use Weakening After Plunging in Italy Amid Coronavirus, Wall St. Journal

U.S. power industry may ask key employees to live at work if coronavirus worsens, Reuters

Coronavirus Could Make It Harder to Keep Wind Farms Up and Running, Greentech Media

National Grid sets aside $500K in customer aid, WHEC

R.I. Utilities Commission Offers Relief from Shut-Offs, ECO RI

Unitil, Eversource, Liberty Utilities suspend power shutoffs amid coronavirus crisis, Foster’s Daily Democrat

National Grid suspends disconnections, collections, Telegram

Avangrid’s CT companies suspend penalty fees for payment problems during coronavirus pandemic, New Haven Register

Maine energy regulators issue emergency moratorium on utilities service disconnections, Bangor Daily News

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Lawyers in Columbia Gas settlement seek early payout, Gloucester Times

Residents call for halt to compressor station construction, Patriot Ledger

Eliot to net $900K a year for gas line station expansion, Seacoastonline.com

U.S. Gulf oil lease sale is weakest since 2016, Reuters

A Tiny Country, an Oil Giant, and Their Shared Fortune, New York Times

Newfoundland offshore Bay du Nord project deferred indefinitely, Chronicle Herald

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Proposed New England power projects reflect ‘dramatic shift’ from gas to renewables, IEEFA

Curbing emissions could save Vermonters $800 million, report says, VTDigger

New York develops 21 new renewable energy projects, CSO Magazine

Solar Dominates Wind in New York’s Latest Renewable Procurement, Greentech Media

Why Scientists Should Shape Environmental Policy, Foreign Policy

Coalition calls for carbon cap-and-trade program across Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, WHYY

New York forestland could provide carbon credit to polluters, Northcountrypublicradio.org

State to Get Millions for Climate Change Strategies After Rejoining Regional Energy Initiative, NJ Spotlight

Study: global banks ‘failing miserably’ on climate crisis by funneling trillions into fossil fuels, Guardian

Lynn is designated a ‘green community’ and receives state funds, Boston Globe

 

Wind

Planned Offshore Wind Turbines Will Have Connection To Shore Substation, Falmouth Enterprise

Maine Will Soon Be Home to 15 MW Wind Power Project, Environmental Leader

Apex Clean Energy applies for 33 wind turbines in Orleans County, Buffalo News

Oil major Total buys 80% stake in Erebus floating offshore wind project, Reuters

Wind power firm picks Rhode Island over New York for industry hub, Newsday

Offshore Wind Farm Development to Include Underground Cables, U.S. News & World Report

Greentown Labs, Vineyard Wind Launch Offshore Challenge to Protect Marine Life, NRG Wind Project

 

Solar

New York taps developers for almost 1.3 GW of solar, wind and storage across upstate region, Utility Dive

U.S. Solar Market Insight, SEIA

He Set Up a Big Solar Farm. His Neighbors Hated It., New York Times

Top 5 Emerging Solar Markets in the US, Greentech Media

Solar Drives Down Price for ISO-NE Power, Power Magazine

Solar Industry Grows 23% in 2019, But Clouds Are on the Horizon, Motley Fool

Solar-powered Harvard ArtLab to meet net-zero energy targets, Inhabitat

Castile solar farm among 21 renewable energy projects unveiled by state officials, Daily News Online

NH developers plan to build solar array in Maine, Journal Record

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Virginia Just Created a Storage Market Out of Thin Air, Greentech Media

These new battery technologies could be the future of energy storage, CNBC

Lead batteries make innovation push to better compete for energy storage projects, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

No halt in Vermont Yankee decommissioning, Brattleboro Reformer

Pennsylvania Move to Join RGGI May Save Nuclear Plant, Power Magazine

Billionaires Chasing Fusion Energy Face a Credibility Test, Bloomberg Green

Politics Continues to Complicate the Nation’s Nuclear Waste Disposal Dilemma, Inside Sources

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Shows Dry Cask Storage Is Safe – Yet Again, Forbes.com

Addressing Safety of Smart Devices for Use in Nuclear Power Plants, iaea.org

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CMP power line project wins initial approval from Maine DEP, Portland Press Herald

Hydropower plan faces opposition, uncertain future, Salem News

New England’s wholesale energy market reaches historic low in 2019, (Press Release), ISO – NE

A New Era Is Beginning for the Grid Edge. Is the Utility Industry Ready,? Greentech Media

Retail buyers may be key to clean energy procurement in ISO-NE, PJM, NYISO: Report, Utility Dive

Smart Wires Looks to Ease Transmission Grid’s Mounting Challenges With Digital Controls, Greentech Media

ISO Outlook 2020: New England capacity additions about the same as 2019, S&P Global

State regulators approve sale of Emera Maine, Portland Press Herald

 

Editorial/Opinion

What Comes After Fossil Fuels?, The New Yorker

Column: Why we need offshore wind energy, Salem News

Should the public buy Columbia Gas?, CommonWealth Magazine

Op-ed: AG should focus on climate solutions, not lawsuits, Business Journals

NJ RGGI proceeds, Politico

This controversial energy stance splits top Democrats — and likely the country, MarketWatch

Anne Watson: Transportation & Climate Initiative would be a win for Vermont, VTDigger

What if we responded to the climate crisis with the same urgency as the coronavirus?, Boston Globe

LETTER: Why we need offshore wind energy, southcoasttoday.com

American Wind Energy Association Statement on Draft Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Routes Study, NA Clean Energy

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

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