Energy News for week ending December 4, 2020

Taking a pause | Ugly, but needed | Postpone Efficiency

Happy Friday folks.

We start this week’s recap with Vineyard Wind news from the State House News Service via Saving Seafood. “On the heels of another federal permitting delay, Vineyard Wind announced Tuesday that it is temporarily withdrawing its construction and operations plan from further review by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management but the company says its pause won’t delay the planned start of clean power generation. The announcement came in conjunction with news that the 800-megawatt offshore wind project plans to use GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X wind turbine generators when it begins construction, which it called ‘industry leading’ and ‘the most powerful in operation to date.’ Project developers told BOEM on Tuesday that they plan to launch their own ‘final technical review associated with the inclusion of the Haliade-X into the final project design’ and have asked for a pause in the federal review, which had been expected to be completed this month before recently being pushed to January.”

Next up is a story from Bloomberg Business Week which, considering the topic was mentioned by Present-Elect Biden, I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about this in the coming years, “High-Voltage Power Lines Are Ugly, and the U.S. Needs More. Places where the sun shines bright and the wind blows hard aren’t always places where a lot of people live. High-voltage transmission lines are needed to bring electricity from renewable energy installations to the towns and cities where it’s consumed. The U.S. is way behind other countries in building these lines… Investors and utilities in the U.S. do want to build high-voltage transmission lines. There are dozens of projects at various stages of consideration, with colorful names such as Power From the Prairie, the Grain Belt Express Clean Line, and Zephyr Power Transmission. The problem is getting approval. Ownership of the U.S. power grid is balkanized, Nimby-ism is common, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been reluctant to override local authorities to get lines sited.”

This next story from NH is a bit of head scratcher since this is a great way to save money and help the environment. From the Concord Monitor, “Citing economic fears, House Republicans call on PUC to postpone 2021 energy efficiency plan. Citing pandemic-driven economic concerns, top Republican state lawmakers are asking the Public Utilities Commission to put off the adoption of more aggressive energy efficiency goals, currently set to take effect at the start of next year. The letter, sent Monday from incoming House Majority Leader Dick Hinch and incumbent Republicans on the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee, calls on the PUC to ‘indefinitely postpone implementation’ of the next three-year statewide energy efficiency plan… The proposal is more aggressive than past versions, aiming to reduce electricity sales by 5% and gas sales by 3% at a three-year cost of about $367 million. The utilities say these cuts will create jobs and enable all kinds of customers to buy less energy, ultimately saving them $1.3 billion or more than three times what the plan costs. They say it will create jobs and business opportunities in weatherization and efficiency upgrades, free up business and municipal revenues to cover other services and improvements, and save residents money to reinvest in their local economies. The utilities also expect the plan to improve public health and fight climate change by preventing the equivalent carbon emissions of more than half a million average homes’ annual energy use, according to an Environmental Protection Agency calculator. The House Republicans, in their letter, argue these long-term savings goals are not worth the short-term costs the plan will carry for manufacturers, small businesses such as restaurants and municipalities hard-hit by the economic downturn of COVID-19.”

That’s the recap for this week. Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend.

Climate Change

‘Climate change continued its relentless march’: 2020 on track to be 2nd warmest year in recorded history, MassLive

Mills unveils 4-year climate action plan, makes plea for urgent action, Press Herald

Cuomo Strengthens RGGI to Cap, Reduce New York GHG Emissions, North American Wind Power

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

Special Report: U.S. air monitors routinely miss pollution – even refinery explosions, Reuters.com

NYC Climate Progress on Ambitious Emissions Goals Backslides As Strategic Plan Sprawls, The City

Grant aims to help coastal communities cope with rising sea levels, more, Press Herald

Renewables/RGGI/TCI

The New Energy Giants are Renewable Companies, Bloomberg Green

Top officials see shift coming on energy front, WWLP

Maine company working on tidal power with help from feds, Bangor Daily News

How New York is trying to build lots of renewables, fast, Grist.com

A ‘world first’ project to heat homes using renewable hydrogen gets the green light, CNBC

Top Baker aide says full steam ahead with TCI, CommonWealth Magazine

AG vows to defend clean energy law as governor seeks tweaks, Wilton Bulletin

Court denies group’s request to see statewide energy plan, NCPR (New York)

Wind

Feds Push Vineyard Wind Decision Into 2021, WBUR

Vineyard Wind plans to use GE wind turbines for clean power project, Boston Business Journal

Vineyard Wind Pause May Kick Project Decision To Biden Admin, Saving Seafood

Offshore wind threatened by ‘key bottleneck’ — report, E&E News

Offshore Wind Looks at Crowded Future in New England, RTO Insider

Solar

How Maine’s Solar Power Boom Could Unintentionally Stunt Adoption Of Climate-Friendly Technologies, Maine Public

Report finds small-scale solar has saved New Englanders more than $1.1 billion over six years, Solar Power World

‘A huge setback’: Candlewood Mountain solar project dealt blow, News Times

Efficiency/Storage

Citing economic fears, House Republicans call on PUC to postpone 2021 energy efficiency plan, Concord Monitor

Eversource Urges Customers To Utilize Assistance Programs, Patch.com

EVs

Boston roadmap details 10-minute EV access for all, Utility Dive

Bipartisan bill aims to boost charging infrastructure, E&E News

Solar company wants to power Port Jervis cars, Record Online

New Hampshire remains a laggard in building EV charging station network, NHBR

Nuclear

NRC formalizes Seabrook oversight, Eagle Tribune 

Much work remains as Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station moves toward decommissioning, Old Colony Memorial

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Feds Give Weymouth Compressor Station Approval To Start Up, WBUR

Weymouth Compressor May Vent Gas As Part Of Its Startup Week, WBUR

Green Hydrogen in Natural Gas Pipelines: Decarbonization Solution or Pipe Dream?, Greentech Media

‘National Grid has failed… to demonstrate that this pipeline is needed’: Mayor de Blasio blasts fossil fuel expansion project in Brooklyn, NY Daily News

Tackling The Natural Gas Industry’s Biggest Problem, oilprice.com

Peak Oil is Suddenly Upon Us, Bloomberg Green

Should it be called “natural gas” or “methane”?, Climate Communication

PA’s Natural Gas Is Stranded from ‘High Risk’ Energy Regions Like New England, Delaware Journal

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

High-Voltage Power Lines Are Ugly, and the U.S. Needs More, Bloomberg

Construction of $1B power corridor to be delayed by a several weeks, WMTW

Whether NJ bolts regional power grid could depend on offshore wind — and Biden rules, NJ Spotlight

Marblehead among 19 Mass. utilities to sign hydroelectric power deal, Salem News

Is New York’s energy industry prepared for both winter and the Covid pandemic?, Buffalo News

Peco plans hourly rates to encourage customers to shift energy use to off-peak periods, Philadelphia Inquirer

‘The Landscape Has Shifted’: Neil Chatterjee on FERC’s Role in the Energy Transition, Greentech Media

PURA overhauls electric rate process, restricts costs utilities can recoup, CT Mirror

Hudson River towns worry about planned power line in the river, Times Union

Opinion

Op-ed: Hydrogen is the missing piece of Mass. clean energy economy, BBJ

‘No net loss!’ Don’t cut down forests to build solar sites, CT Mirror

Scott Campell: Gov. Scott, please get on with it, VT Digger

The PUC Gets a Really Bad Letter, InDepthNH

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

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