Energy News for week ending March 27, 2020

Momentum slows | All Electric Home Boom | Sleek Reactor Housing

 

Happy Friday afternoon folks. We hope you’re all feeling and doing well and that can you find some time to get out and enjoy today’s beautiful weather.

We start this week with a story from S&P Global, “Coronavirus slows gas ban momentum, creates obstacles for pipeline opponents. The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for climate activists, disrupting attempts to limit natural gas use in buildings and forcing pipeline opponents to retrench in the digital realm. Cities, towns and counties have spearheaded recent efforts to ban gas use or require electric heating in new buildings. But COVID-19 response is now consuming local lawmakers’ attention, while restrictions on public gatherings hamper meetings required to craft the policies. Meanwhile, environmentalists are scrambling to move meetings and public demonstrations to online venues as states order citizens to remain at home. The groups are simultaneously waging a new battle against oil and gas bailouts and positioning themselves to navigate the post-coronavirus landscape…The Bay State’s first gas ban passed in the 240-member Brookline Town Meeting in November 2019, but just four months later, such a gathering has become virtually unimaginable. Mothers Out Front, a climate activist group that fought for the ban, outlined a plan on March 11 to move meetings online, train members to organize in the digital realm, and offer tools for social media and call-in campaigns.”

One trend that the article above mentions is the move to requiring all-electric housing. An article from Greentech Media delves into the future market potential. “A Boom Is Coming for All-Electric Homes Despite Lagging Consumer Awareness. Global revenue for home electric heating, cooling and cooking equipment could increase by more than five times by the end of the decade. The surge in spending on all-electric homes is expected even though many consumers are unfamiliar with the natural-gas-displacing electric appliances on the market today. Around 70 million American homes burn natural gas, oil or propane for space and water heating, according to Navigant Research. But the fossil-fuel-burning furnaces, water heaters and stoves many Americans have long relied on now have competition in the form of electric air-source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and induction cooking equipment. ‘Electrification technologies are rapidly becoming more cost-effective and more reliable than fossil-fuel systems in a variety of planning scenarios and climatic conditions,’ Daniel Talero and Neil Strother, research analysts at Navigant Research, wrote in a new report on the global market for ‘fully electrified home’ technologies. Navigant expects global revenue for fully electrified home technologies to soar to $12.9 billion in 2029, up from $2.4 billion in 2020. The category includes insulation and energy management systems as well as heat pumps and induction cooking equipment.”

The last highlight for this week comes from a publication we don’t often cite – Architectural Digest. “This Sleek Building Is Actually a Nuclear Reactor. When you picture a nuclear power plant, you probably imagine giant concrete cooling towers set within fenced-off industrial complexes. But the future of nuclear power has a very different look. California-based company Oklo is developing new clean energy plants that use advanced fission to provide areas with emission-free energy. The company recently received a site permit from the U.S. Department of Energy to build its first plant, the Aurora, at the Idaho National Laboratory. When working on the design, which was done in collaboration with Gensler, the company first considered the needs of the rural communities they hoped to serve in areas such as northern Alaska. ‘Right now they rely on diesel or oil,’ says CEO Jacob DeWitte. ‘That’s obviously expensive. It’s also noisy, it’s polluting, and it’s susceptible to supply-chain disruptions.’ The Aurora, on the other hand, produces 1.5 megawatt—enough to power about 1,000 homes—and can run for 20 years without refueling. It also would save 1 million tons of carbon emissions over a diesel generator and can turn nuclear waste into clean energy. The small footprint of the technology gave the company the opportunity to devise an unexpected A-frame design for the structure, which looks more like a ski chalet than a power plant…While most power plants have tight security, the advanced reactor technology Oklo is using allows the Aurora to be open to the environment—and even the public. The Aurora will have a light-filled front atrium that the company imagines could be used for a tourist or event space. The A-frame’s exterior features solar panels using technology by Sistine Solar, a company that creates custom skins for panels. Each Aurora will showcase artwork by local artists. For the concept artwork, Oklo worked with artist Forest Stearns, who devised a piece based on an image of an aurora from space.”

That’s the recap for this week. Stay well and have a great weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

New York State PSC embarks on plan to examine natural gas usage, investments, Daily Energy Insider

Competitive Power Ventures gas plant uses new GE combustion system to cut fuel costs with ethane blend, Utility Dive

With financial squeeze tightening, coal is collapsing faster than some predicted, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

A power-to-gas system integrating co-electrolysis and methanation, pv magazine International

Coronavirus slows gas ban momentum, creates obstacles for pipeline opponents, S&P Global

Tens of Thousands Are Getting Laid Off in U.S. Shale Patch, YAHOO!

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Massachusetts Set to Launch Clean Peak Standard, Opening New Chapter in Grid’s Evolution, Greentech Media

Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects to Deliver Clean Energy to New York, T&D World

Why we won’t avoid a climate catastrophe, National Geographic News

Green Plate Special: The fate of wild salmon may point to the fate of the planet, Portland Press Herald

Burning Wood Can Be a Clean Source of Power After All, Bloomberg

Maine’s lands and waters 200 years later? Very different, Portland Press Herald

Climate change set to make extreme heat more common – and costly, Reuters

Oswego County Legislature opposes Cuomo’s plan to site wind and solar plants regardless of local objections, NNY 360

Nearly $2T stimulus package omits direct renewable sector aid after Trump, McConnell opposition, Utility Dive

How to Give Certainty to US Renewables Regardless of a Stimulus Package, Greentech Media

10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change, Axios

COVID-19 may sport the thinnest silver lining: a cleaner climate, Utility Dive

Radio Corona: so what about climate change?, MIT Technology Review

Could COVID-19 Give Rise to the Home Microgrid?, Microgrid Knowledge

Coronavirus shows how to fight disinformation about climate change, Fast Company

The Analogy Between Covid-19 and Climate Change Is Eerily Precise, Wired

Climate and the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, New York Times

Coronavirus Holds Key Lessons on How to Fight Climate Change, Yale Environment 360

The coronavirus stimulus will inject trillions into the economy. Here’s how it could also help the planet., Grist

 

Wind

Federal study surveys spawning Atlantic Cod, Cape Cod Times

Berne, Knox, and Rensselaerville prohibit commercial wind turbines, Altamont Enterprise (NY)

Commission Dismisses Last Wind Project In Vermont, Caledonian Record

University of Maine Assigned Patent for Floating Hybrid Composite Wind Turbine Platform, Energy Central

Inside Clean Energy: At a Critical Moment, the Coronavirus Threatens to Bring Offshore Wind to a Halt, Inside Climate News

 

Solar

SunPower Wins Bid to Supply Solar Solutions in New England, Zacks.com

NJR Clean Energy Ventures solar array powers township’s water treatment plant, NJbiz.com

Board OK’s solar PILOT agreement, Leader Herald (NY)

How New York awarded more capacity than 34 states have installed, PV Magazine

Are Solar Workers ‘Essential’? The Industry May Soon Find Out, Greentech Media

Westfield Slated As Location For Proposed Solar Facility, The Post Journal

New carbon dot-based method for increasing the efficiency of solar cells and LEDs, Phys.org

No solar tax credit changes included in the $2 trillion rescue package in response to the pandemic, pvbuzz.com

Solar developers launch lobbying effort to curb COVID-19 impacts, advance remote permitting, Utility Dive

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

A Boom Is Coming for All-Electric Homes Despite Lagging Consumer Awareness, Greentech Media

 

EVs

A New Battery Breakthrough That Could Save Electric Vehicles During a Recession, Medium Marker

Electric car emissions myth ‘busted,’ BBC

The Vast Potential of Managed Electric Vehicle Charging, Greentech Media

Coronavirus pumps the brakes on the electric vehicle revolution, Grist

 

Nuclear

This Sleek Building Is Actually a Nuclear Reactor, Architectural Digest

Nuclear waste disposal: Why the case for deep boreholes is … full of holes, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Nuclear plant operating with essential staff, limiting other access, Newburyport Daily News

NRC Preparing Rule Changes Due to Coronavirus, POWER Magazine

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Judge kicks anti-corridor referendum back to Dunlap after 2 allege signatures were forged, Bangor Daily News

BPU Takes Appeal Over Multistate $1.2B Transmission Upgrade to Federal Court, NJ Spotlight

Virginia rejects Dominion’s $752M smart meter plan, other grid mod proposals, Utility Dive

How Electricity Use Changes During a Pandemic, Greentech Media

Could COVID-19 Give Rise to the Home Microgrid?, Microgrid Knowledge

A Utility Vowed To Stop Shutoffs. Advocates Say Hundreds May Still Lack Electricity., Huffington Post

Coronavirus response: Massachusetts utility companies ordered to not shut off gas, electric or water for people who fail to pay bills, MassLive

Electricity demand dips as coronavirus alters work, school patterns, S&P Global

Anticipating the Economic Crisis: Why Everything Will Be Different, Greentech Media (Podcast)

North American Power Markets Will Look Different in the 2020s, Greentech Media

Grid Operators Turn Control Centers Into Campsites to Keep Coronavirus at Bay, New York Times

America’s Electricity is Safe From the Coronavirus—for Now, Wired

Coronavirus response: Massachusetts utility companies ordered to not shut off gas, electric or water for people who fail to pay bills, MassLive

What are the chances of a widespread power outage during the coronavirus crisis? Low, Boston Globe

CMP parent company pledges $2 million to pandemic relief, Portland Press Herald

National Grid holds off on April 1 rate increases amid coronavirus, Times Union

 

Editorial/Opinion

With oil prices falling amid the COVID-19 recession, it’s the beginning of the end for fracking, Salon

Our view: US must help NJ reduce electric grid waste at ratepayers’ expense, Press of Atlantic City

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

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