Energy News for week ending May 8, 2020

Outrage | Social Distancing Threat | Woodwind

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start this week with a story from RTO Insider, “Exelon Bid to Keep Mystic Units Running Provokes Outrage. When Exelon announced that it would retire its 2,001-MW Mystic Generating Station, ISO-NE was forced to amend its Tariff and sign an expensive and controversial out-of-market contract to keep the plant running through May 2024 for reliability. Now, Exelon has filed interconnection requests to keep the two combined cycle units at the plant in Everett, Mass., running beyond the end of its $400 million cost-of-service agreement for “fuel security” in 2024. Exelon’s April 20 filing with ISO-NE asked the RTO to treat the two gas-fired units — with combined capacity of 1,600 MW in summer and 1,700 MW in winter — as “new” resources. ‘The filing preserves an additional option for Mystic 8 and 9 to provide unique fuel security and electric reliability benefits to the region following the cost-of-service period, if ISO-NE decides that it does not need Mystic 8 and 9 in the market for transmission security for at least one more year,’ Exelon Generation spokesman Mark Rodgers explained in response to questions from RTO Insider. News of Exelon’s change of heart provoked outrage among some stakeholders.”

It’s a bit far-flung from the Northeast but the strategy in this story could certainly have implications here, especially given the number of cities and towns contemplating gas bans. From the LA Times, “How to stop a climate vote? Threaten a ‘no social distancing’ protest. San Luis Obispo was on the verge of passing an ambitious climate change policy when the proposal’s most vocal critic, Eric Hofmann, found a trump card: fear of the coronavirus. Elected officials in this city along California’s Central Coast planned to vote on an energy code that would encourage construction of all-electric buildings, which don’t use gas appliances and aren’t hooked up to the gas grid. It’s an increasingly popular tool for cities looking to phase out fossil fuels — and a threat to the gas industry, which has mounted a vigorous counteroffensive. On March 16, Hofmann sent an email to San Luis Obispo officials that left them shocked. ‘If the city council intends to move forward with another reading on a gas ban I can assure you there will be no social distancing in place,’ he wrote. ‘I strongly urge the city council to kick this can down the road to adhere to public health safety measures. Please don’t force my hand in bussing in hundreds and hundreds of pissed off people potentially adding to this pandemic.’ Hofmann is president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 132, which represents thousands of employees of Southern California Gas Co. — one of the nation’s largest gas utilities, and a prominent crusader against local efforts to phase out gas. He also chairs the board of directors of Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions, a pro-gas advocacy group that has received funding from SoCalGas and worked closely with the utility to generate opposition to all-electric building policies.”

And for our new technology story of the week we travel to Sweden with a story from Business Green. “Renewable power: Modvion installs 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower. A 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower has been erected by engineering and industrial design firm Modvion on a Swedish island close to the city of Gothenburg. Modvion announced last week that the successful pilot project, built for research purposes for the Swedish Wind Technology Centre, marked a ‘major breakthrough’ in the development of a new generation of low-carbon, high-efficiency wind turbines. ‘Laminated wood is stronger than steel at the same weight, and by building in modules, wind turbines can be taller,’ chief executive Otto Lundman said. ‘By building in wood, we also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing and instead store carbon dioxide in the design.’ Alongside their environmental benefits, advocates of wooden wind towers maintain that they hold several major advantages for wind project developers accustomed to working with steel. For example, because wood is cheaper, lighter, and can be transported in smaller modules, construction costs for wooden towers are likely to be lower. Furthermore, a modular approach to construction allows towers to be taller and wider, meaning that turbines can extend longer vertically and operate in places where wind speeds are higher.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Gas Stoves: Health and Air Quality Impacts and Solutions, Rocky Mountain Institute

Legislation aims to block fossil fuel companies from receiving coronavirus aid, The Hill

So far, COVID-19 fallout not altering plans to retire US coal-fired plants, S&P Global

These dirty power plants cost billions and only operate in summer. Can they be replaced,? Grist

How to stop a climate vote? Threaten a ‘no social distancing’ protest, LA Times

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

US Treasury to Tweak Tax Credit Deadlines for Renewables Projects, Greentech Media

Amid pandemic, U.S. renewable power sources have topped coal for 40 days, Reuters

Coronavirus Offers a Clear View of What Causes Air Pollution, Wall St. Journal

Solar, wind energy struggle as coronavirus takes toll, AP News

Critics Say R.I. Climate Council Falls Short of Its Mandate, EcoRI

Coronavirus crisis hits solar and wind energy industry, Washington Post

New York to include small combustion turbines in annual carbon emission limits, Utility Dive

Are Progressive Climate Policies a Political Poison Pill,? Greentech Media

Forests Are Vanishing More Slowly, But Not Slowly Enough, Bloomberg Green

MassCEC Goes Underwater NB Ocean Wind Turbine Port, Patch.com

Harvard didn’t divest from fossil fuels. So what does its ‘net-zero’ pledge mean?, Grist.com

Climate and coronavirus hit the same communities hard, Futurity.org

Governor rejects withdrawal from RGGI, Daily American (PA)

 

Wind

‘Growing chorus’ endorses multi-user transmission system, RiveriaMM.com

Renewable power: Modvion installs 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower, Business Green

Peek Into a Wooden Mast Reveals Wind Power’s Towering Future, Bloomberg Green

Energy generated on offshore wind turbine farms, and conveyed ashore as hydrogen fuel, EurakAlert!

Sheffield wind case: Timeline of years-long sound level fight, Caledonian Record via National Wind Watch

Big data ‘could help drive better performance of wind energy assets,’ Energy Live News

 

Solar

New 3.2MW solar plant to provide clean energy to Vermont’s electric utilities, Energy Live News

Planning Board: Buxton Street solar farm doesn’t meet ordinance, Valley Breeze

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Storing solar and wind energy with compressed air, PV Magazine

Regulatory developments shaping energy storage in 2020 so far, PV Magazine

 

EVs

Utilities should charge electric delivery trucks as a new rate class, take other cost-cutting steps: Amazon-led alliance, Market Watch

New Breed of Pickups Mixes Horsepower and Battery Power, New York Times

 

Nuclear

Millstone security employees criticize COVID-19 safety efforts, The Day

Nuclear plant workers cite lack of precautions around virus, AP News

Fact-checking Amazon’s new season of Bosch, American Nuclear Society

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Exelon Bid to Keep Mystic Units Running Provokes Outrage, RTO Insider

Maine Supreme Court Rules That Anti-CMP Corridor Referendum Signatures Were Valid, Maine Public

Trump’s grid security executive order will create vendor ‘black list,’ complicate equipment sourcing, Utility Dive

Looming Coal and Nuclear Plant Closures Put ‘Just Transition’ Concept to the Test, Greentech Media

Trump’s security order could have ‘chilling effect,’ slow smart grid deployment, experts say, Utility Dive

Utility Sought Repeated Rate Increases to Make Up for $285M in Under-Earnings, Audit Finds, NJ Spotlight

 

Editorial/Opinion

Can Mass. launch the fusion revolution,? CommonWealth Magazine

Powering through — and beyond — the crisis, Utility Dive

LETTER: Holtec and spent fuel rods, Wicked Local Plymouth

Why We Need Renewable Natural Gas, Microgrid Knowledge

Toll taken by Hoosac Wind, Berkshire Eagle via National Wind Watch

Letter to the editor: Renegotiate CMP corridor so Maine gets a better deal, Press Herald

Leave a comment

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.