Energy News for week ending October 30, 2020

Rethink the future| Optimistic | It was in Niagara Falls…

Happy snowy Friday folks. I hear next week at this time we may hit 70 degrees. Ah, life in New England.

Maybe it was unintentional but given the nature of the story maybe not. Regardless, I love the photo of the upside down burner that accompanies this piece from CommonWealth Magazine, “DPU orders gas utilities to rethink their future. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities on Thursday ordered the state’s natural gas utilities to jointly hire consultants and come up with a way to dramatically phase down or eliminate their businesses over the next 30 years. The order is a response to Gov. Charlie Baker’s call for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It asks for strategies to achieve that goal ‘while simultaneously safeguarding ratepayer interests; ensuring safe, reliable, and cost-effective natural gas service; and potentially recasting the role of LDCs [local distribution companies] in the Commonwealth.’”

If the gas utilities aren’t feeling positive, according to the Boston Business Journal the cleantech folks are seeing the glass half full. “Mass. clean energy leaders are optimistic about future growth. How disruptive an influence has the coronavirus been on the clean energy industry this year? A recent report from BW Research Partnership showed that the U.S. clean energy sector added 12,500 jobs in September, ‘leaving just under half a million (477,900) clean energy workers out of work since February this year – an almost 14 percent decline over pre-Covid-19 employment levels.’ The report further suggests the sector has been slower to rebound than others on a national level. Of the 17 firms that have appeared on the two most recent versions of the BBJ’s Largest Clean Energy Companies list, seven companies reported year-over-year increases in local headcount, four stayed flat, and six reported decreases (although, in at least a couple of cases, the drops were minor, relatively speaking). ‘While Massachusetts continues to be a leader in clean energy employment, there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the industry,’ said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Steve Pike. ’However, Massachusetts’ commitment to combatting climate change and to growing its clean energy economy sets the stage for not just recovering those lost jobs, but also dramatic growth in the years to come.’” 

Our last feature story comes from Niagara Falls which when hearing of that place I confess it always makes me think of this Three Stooges episode. That aside, it’s a cool story about water-based transit. From the Washington Post, “A new era in maritime travel: Electric boats. Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls has launched North America’s first all-electric, zero-emissions tour boats. With the sun streaming into the Niagara Gorge, visitors lined up in socially distanced groups waiting to shuffle onto the Maid of the Mist, the boats that have ferried tourists to the base of Niagara Falls for the past 174 years. Whether they knew it or not, these passengers were experiencing a new era of maritime transportation: boats powered by electricity. Earlier this month, the Maid of the Mist launched two electric catamarans into the gorge, the first of their kind in North America. The hulking double-deckers run on dual banks of lithium-ion batteries. All the power used to charge the batteries is supplied by the nearby Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, one of the most productive hydroelectric facilities in the United States, making the boats a zero-emission operation. Maid of the Mist is at the forefront of what observers say is an emerging trend in maritime operations.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a safe and fun Halloween and don’t forget to fall back Saturday night.

Efficiency/Storage

Eversource creates online hub for energy efficient services with City of Boston, Daily Energy Insider

NH Guard strives for net-zero energy use at training site, Army.mil

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

RI climate suit to stay in state court, ProJo

Mass. clean energy leaders are optimistic about future growth, Boston Business Journal

Exclusive: GM, Ford knew about climate change 50 years ago, E&E News

A woman warned GM about warming. Men didn’t listen, E&E News

As Climate Disasters Pile Up, a Radical Proposal Gains Traction, New York Times

‘It just goes into a black hole,’ Grist.org

‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find, The Guardian

At the intersection of clean energy and bluetech, BlueGreen Innovation Challenge emerges, RhodeIslandInno

Trump’s pullback of pollution controls is even more hazardous than you think, Vox.com

Unlimited, on-demand renewable energy anywhere in the world — is Eavor-Loop climate change’s holy grail?, Recharge

Poll: NJ voters strongly support investing in clean energy as part of pandemic recovery, NJ Insider

DEP warns environmentalists not to prejudge climate regulation review, NJ Spotlight

UMass Boston report shows that climate change views vary by race, Dorchester Reporter

Cuomo adviser: New York is “putting equity at the center” of climate work, Axios

NJ Transit Switches to Renewables for Microgrid, Plans Nov. 25 Solicitation, Microgrid Knowledge

Kennebunkport selectmen explore goals for tackling climate change, Seacoastonline.com

Wind

Vineyard Wind Secures Transmission Agreement With ISO-NE, Power Magazine

RI set to double down on offshore wind power, ProJo

Floating Offshore Wind Turbines Set to Make Inroads in U.S., Scientific America (E&E News)

FERC Pushed to Change Tx Rules for OSW, RTO Insider (Subscriber content)

How the Virus Slowed the Booming Wind Energy Business, New York Times

Falmouth no closer to dismantling wind turbines Town officials frustrated by state actions, Cape Cod Times

Ørsted Looks to Soften Impact of US Permitting Delays With Bigger Turbines, Greentech media

Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia partnering on offshore wind energy development, The Hill

Solar

Wind remains cheaper, but solar’s costs are falling faster, Lazard finds, Utility Dive

New Solar Projects Save Energy Costs Across Cape, Capecod.com

This spooky Halloween display in Western Massachusetts is completely solar powered, MassLive

42-acre solar farm proposed on Bucksport Road, Ellsworth American

Gray solar array on track for December completion, Press Herald

Seneca Nation calls on solar developer to ‘cease and desist’ following bone discovery, Livingston County News

EVs

A new era in maritime travel: Electric boats, Washington Post

Auto Makers Shift Their Hydrogen Focus to Big Rigs, Wall St. Journal

Trump administration funds projects to more efficiently charge and deploy electric buses, Utility Dive

Electric vehicles see state-level gains, The Hill

Nuclear

NRC names new inspector at Seabrook nuclear power plant, Seacoast Online

NuScale Faces Questions on Nuclear Reactor Safety and Financing Its First Project, Greentech Media

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

DPU Opens Look Into Natural Gas Industry, State House News Service via WBUR

RI regulators approve natural gas rate increases but defer bill impacts, ProJo

Beacon Hill’s Iconic Gas Lamps Are Going Green, WBUR

Healey wades into debate over Weymouth gas compressor station, WHDH

Town’s public safety officials offer plan for compressor station emergency, Patriot Ledger

Activist group urges Eversource CEO to scrap plans for regional natural gas pipeline, MassLive

National Grid looks to move LNG facility off Old Mill Lane in Portsmouth; Middletown wants say, Newport Daily News

Company plans biorefinery for zero-emission heating oil in Maine, Press Herald

In Battleground Pennsylvania, Fracking and Renewables Compete to Be the Future of Energy, Wall St. Journal

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Gov. Cuomo proposes bill to ‘dramatically increase penalties’ for NY utility storm response failures, Utility Dive

CMP goes back to the future in bid to calm customers, short-circuit revolt, Press Herald

Lawsuit seeks environmental review of Maine energy project, AP News

Mainers encouraged to apply for jobs on controversial power line, Sun Journal

Advocates press state regulators to extend moratoriums on power utility shut-offs, CT Post

NYS Public Service Commission to identify transmission projects to meet clean energy goals, Daily Energy Insider

How Does Your State Make Electricity?, New York Times

Tesla microgrids spread as U.S. grid ‘gets worse and worse,’ E&E News

Opinion

Another Voice: Hydrogen, natural gas make a dynamic energy duo, Buffalo News

Op-Ed: Here’s how NJ can protect consumers and state clean-energy policy from feds’ fossil fuel favors, NJ Spotlight

The US power sector has prevented millions of cyberattacks in 2020 — that takes 24/7 commitment, Utility Dive

Op-Ed: ‘Blue holes’ offer New Jersey unique opportunity for solar development, NJ Spotlight

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Filed under Climate Change, Electric Grid, Energy Efficiency, Natural Gas Pipelines, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, offshore wind

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