Category Archives: Natural Gas Pipelines

Energy News for week ending October 18, 2019

Moratorium Extended | Compressor Approvals | Wind to Hydrogen

 

Happy Friday afternoon folks. We hope you’re all doing well after the big windstorm.

We’re highlighting a couple of Massachusetts-related gas stories this week, though we have a lot of stories below about the ongoing battle between National Grid and New York.

First from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “A moratorium on adding new natural gas customers in Northampton and Easthampton will continue indefinitely following a decision by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts to abandon a project aimed at increasing the pipeline capacity for both cities.  The company last week announced that the moratorium for Northampton and Easthampton, which began in 2015 and has since meant new connections to its supply line are not allowed, will be extended due to changes in the planned ‘Greater Springfield Service Territory Reliability Project’ first unveiled in November 2017. Two years ago, the company pledged that five interrelated projects throughout the region would increase the natural gas supply and put an end to the moratorium in 2020 or 2021. Instead, Columbia Gas has eliminated the ‘alternate backfeed’ project, a 6-mile-long, 12-inch pipe that would have run between Agawam and Holyoke…Columbia Gas President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Kempic said in a statement that the decision to abandon the ‘alternate backfeed’ was made based on review and analysis over the past few months of the cost impact and benefits to customers, and is unrelated to the work moratorium imposed by the state’s Department of Public Utilities on the Columbia Gas system. ‘Our determination is that we can accomplish the goals of removing leak-prone pipe in Agawam and West Springfield, as well as enhance operational flexibility, with the four remaining projects,’ Kempic said.”

We move from Western Mass to the South Shore where the Patriot Ledger reports, “Opponents of a natural gas compressor station proposed for the Fore River Basin were dealt two major blows Wednesday when a state adjudicator recommended the approval of a waterways license and a wetlands permit for the project, triggering the start of the final state review in the approval process. Hearing officer Jane Rothchild of the state Department of Environmental Protection said the department should uphold the license and permit issued to gas company Spectra Energy-Enbridge and reject an appeal filed by Weymouth and a citizens group, which together had argued that the proposed station would worsen air and noise pollution in the Fore River Basin and is not an appropriate use based on state waterways regulations. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg has the final say on the approval of the permit and license…‘In sum, the petitioners have failed to offer persuasive evidence demonstrating that the proposed project does not conform to the requirements of the applicable waterways regulations,’ Rothchild wrote in her decision on the waterways license. Mayor Robert Hedlund said the rulings Wednesday were ‘further salt in the wound’ and a continuation of the town’s disappointment with state officials.”

For our new technology feature we bring you this news from Phys.org, “Alternative energy conserves natural resources and is environmentally friendly. However, the challenge is to develop reliable plants that continuously generate energy. Scientists of South Ural State University have found a way to achieve this using wind turbines and hydrogen…‘We have combined a power plant with equipment for producing hydrogen, as well as electrical energy from hydrogen. In other words, this installation converts electricity into hydrogen, which we can store or even transport. From the same hydrogen, we conduct electricity back,’ Andrei Martyanov says, associate professor at the Department of Power Stations, Networks and Power Supply Systems of the Polytechnic Institute of SUSU. The conversion of electricity to hydrogen occurs through electrolysis, then the hydrogen is placed in special containers, which are stored until the moment when the consumer will require electricity. The reverse process of getting energy from hydrogen occurs due to an electrochemical reaction in which hydrogen interacts with oxygen, electricity and thermal energy are generated. By the end of 2019, scientists plan to complete work on the creation of a digital twin of a wind turbine.”

Those are the highlights for this week. There are a lot of interesting stories below. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Columbia Gas vows to meet Friday deadline, Eagle Tribune

Columbia Gas extends moratorium for Northampton, Easthampton customers, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Columbia Gas hires retired utility exec to oversee safety in Massachusetts, Wicked Local North Andover

Despite ‘political tug-of-war,’ the US ‘still needs fossil fuels’: DOE General Counsel, Utility Dive

Williams pipeline pending, Politico

New Jersey Denies Permits For Proposed Natural Gas Pipeline, CBS Philly

Weymouth compressor foes sift through soil removal plan, Wicked Local

State official backs two key approvals for compressor station, Patriot Ledger

National Grid gas shortage warning questioned by pipeline critics, Newsday

National Grid says it will reconnect natgas customers after NY order, CNBC

‘Margins Are Very Tight’: National Grid President Defends Decision To Not Provide Thousands With Heat, Gas, CBS New York

State regulators admit there’s a gas shortage amid utility fight, New York Post

NY regulators blast National Grid over gas service denials, SNL

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Kingston renewable energy loan program on hold, Wicked Local Kingston

Clean Energy Ventures raises $110M for its first fund, Boston Business Journal (subscriber content)

Hogan administration releases delayed plan to reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions, Baltimore Sun

How Will Climate Change Alter Agriculture? Winemakers Are Finding Out, New York Times

Can looking to the future help preserve a historical fishery against climate change?, Environmental Defense Fund

New tool enables Nova Scotia lobster fishery to address impacts of climate change, Phys.org

Documents Show Massachusetts AG Ready to File Climate Case Against Exxon, Bloomberg Environment

 

Wind

GE: ‘Inevitable’ That Offshore Wind Manufacturing Comes to the US, Greentech Media

Homeowner group objects to wind-farm proposal, Coastal Point (MD)

Regulators grant first federal permits for offshore wind to Dominion, Ørsted pilot, Utility Dive

Boston energy firm sues GE over damaged turbine, Boston Business Journal (subscriber content)

Moratorium on Portland wind turbines may get extended, Observer (NY)

From the wind to hydrogen and vice versa: a new generation wind power plant is developed, Phys.org

3 Companies Banking on U.S. Offshore Wind, Motley Fool

Researchers develop ‘fully autonomous’ drones that can inspect and fix wind turbines, CNBC

Fishermen Demand a Say in Decisions on Offshore Wind Energy, NECN

In a Reversal, Wind Power Industry Wants More U.S. Tax Credits, YAHOO!

Vineyard Wind Submits Proposal to Deliver up to 1200 MW of Offshore Wind and Create Offshore Wind Hub in Connecticut, Renewable Energy Magazine

Vineyard Wind starts seabed probe, renews.biz

 

Solar

Woburn Continues to be Leader in Green Energy Production–New Solar System on Joyce Middle School to Save the City $29,000 a Year, Business Insider

Portland schools look to large-scale solar providers for energy, Portland Press Herald

West Greenwich residents air concerns over proposed solar project, Providence Journal

Falmouth revives interest in municipal solar project, Portland Press Herald

Saugerties solar farm delayed, HV1

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Vermont residents get special pricing for innovative home energy monitor powered by AI through Efficiency Vermont program, VTDigger

New York advances toward 3 GW storage goal with 2.5 GWh project to replace gas peakers, Utility Dive

 

Alternative Fuel Vehicles/Transportation

Hydrogen is still a mystery to drivers, but Toyota plans 10 times more cars, Los Angeles Times

The 2021 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car has more luxury, less ugly, Ars Technica

E-vehicle rebate program gets lifeline, Gloucester Times

Electric revolution: As EV demand increases, can utilities and cities keep up?, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

Nuclear waste? These microbes might help with the cleanup, Nature

Nuclear Fusion Could Rescue the Planet From Climate Catastrophe, YAHOO!

Stand Up For Nuclear / Supporters To Gather This Weekend In 30 Cities, NucNet

Anti-nuke pills being readied for parts of C-K, Windsor Star

DOE, NRC team up to accelerate deployment of advanced reactors, Utility Dive

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Massachusetts Regulators Audit National Grid Over Concerns With Management, Greentech Media

Sudbury rail corridor dispute reaches state Supreme Judicial Court, Wicked Local Sudbury

Green Mountain Power turnaround driven by customer obsession, cultural shift: CEO, Utility Dive

PPL in merger talks with Connecticut utility to form $67 billion company, The Morning Call

Italian energy giant launches clean tech VC arm in Boston, Business Journals

Rep. Golden requests hearing on CMP power line, Hartford Courant

Energy Secretary Perry says he is resigning by year’s end, AP

New York adopts utility-ESCO cybersecurity requirements, rejects insurance requirements, Utility Dive

Brooklyn Microgrid Launches Campaign to Create Regulatory Sandbox, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

State attorneys general prepare to fight for clean energy rights, The Hill

Letter: Pros and cons of new gas pipeline, Newsday

State should speed up approvals on solar projects, Haverhill Gazette

Opinion: For the sake of our oceans, we need to get serious about climate change, Connecticut Post

Riding The Green Energy Wave In Plug Power, Seeking Alpha

Editorial: Wind plan makes sense for Bridgeport, Connecticut Post

Why is Lamont’s wind deal not done yet?, The Day

5 key takeaways from the National Grid rate case, Utility Dive

Turbine gone with the wind? Ocean Gate residents certainly hope so | Mulshine, NJ.com

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

Energy News for week ending September 27, 2019

Returning Home | Brookline Ban | Solar and Farms

 

Happy Friday afternoon everyone.

After this morning’s scare, there is good news out of Lawrence. From the Eagle Tribune, “At a press conference just before 2 p.m. Friday, Mayor Daniel Rivera said most residents evacuated due to a natural gas leak in a South Lawrence neighborhood earlier in the day will be able to return to their homes starting at 3 p.m… They were taken to the shelter by buses earlier in the day. Rivera, other city officials and Gov. Charlie Baker said the source of the gas leak has been discovered and is in the process of being repaired. Officials stressed it is safe for residents to return to their homes, except for those who live on South Broadway between Merrimack and Andover streets and on Carver Street. Gas and power to homes not in those specific areas have been turned back on, but will remain shut off in those areas, which are close to the source. Officials said gas and power to those remaining homes will be turned on as soon as it is determined to be safe. More announcements on that situation will be coming today. Rivera said the leak is not related to the larger gas pipe system in the area that was replaced after last year’s disaster. ‘There is no public safety concern,” the mayor said. “This is an isolated incident.’”

Speaking of gas, WBUR reports “Brookline Proposal Would Ban New Natural Gas Connections In Town. Like a growing number of communities across the state and nation, Brookline has set an aggressive goal to eliminate its climate-changing emissions by 2050.Town Meeting member Jesse Gray has proposed a simple but far-reaching bylaw to help Brookline meet that goal: Ban new gas pipelines and infrastructure in future major construction. ‘The most practical and cost effective way to achieve that goal is not to install new fossil fuel system when we’re building new buildings and when we are gut-renovating them,’ Gray said. Brookline will vote on Gray’s proposal during November’s Town Meeting. Gray estimates a ban would cut the town’s climate change emissions 15% over the next 30 years, but it wouldn’t prevent anyone in an existing home from swapping an old gas stove or appliance with a new one.”

On the solar front, we have two stories this week about the opportunity to use farmland for solar. The Wall St. Journal reports that, “U.S. farmers are embracing an alternative means of turning sunlight into revenue during a sharp downturn in crop prices: solar power.” And Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette writes, “As the state’s Department of Environmental Resources makes a push to expand the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program and encourage more solar projects to increase the supply of renewable energy, there are questions about whether wooded land, and the carbon sequestration benefits trees offer, will be compromised….Sean Garren of Vote Solar Action Fund, which has advocated for greater use of solar, said cutting down trees, or taking over prime agricultural land, is a valid worry, and should be addressed in any comprehensive plan for addressing climate change…One solution is to continue putting as much solar as possible on marginal lands, he said, as well as on roofs and over parking lots. Already-cleared land should be encouraged for use, he said, as there are opportunities for farmland to share crops and solar installations. ‘Instead of merely penalizing solar on open lands, we should be encouraging the use of solar projects as pasture land, the planting of pollinator-friendly plants under and around solar projects, and the conservation of other lands simultaneously with solar growth,’ Garren said.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the spectacular weather!

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

UPDATE: Most South Lawrence evacuees can return home starting Friday at 3 p.m., Eagle Tribune

Brookline Proposal Would Ban New Natural Gas Connections In Town, WBUR

UPDATE: Columbia Gas ‘unprepared,’ with ‘catastrophic’ results, NTSB reports, Eagle Tribune

Lawyers ask for $24M in fees for Columbia Gas settlement, Boston Business Journal (subscriber content)

National Grid Gas Nightmare: Brooklyn Pretzel Business The Latest Victim Of Utility’s Political Standoff, CBS Boston / WBZ

Columbia Gas to inspect 700 abandoned gas lines in Valley, Andover Townsman

Activist voices shock over proposed Weymouth compressor site, Wicked Local

Weymouth compressor foes unload on soil removal plan, Wicked Local

Doctors’ group says compressor station would be unsafe, Patriot Ledger

NJ’s Decision Deadline on Gas Pipeline Pushed Back a Month, NBC New York

Top energy regulator warns of mass blackouts if a gas pipeline were attacked, CNN

Appeals court backs dismissal of class-action suit against Eversource, Avangrid over natural gas bookings, West Hartford News

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns, New York Times

At the edge of a warming world, Boston Globe

Climate Change Not A Top Priority, New Poll Finds, insidesources.com

Changing weather could put insurance firms out of business, The Economist (subscriber content)

Renewable energy trade scheme comes under scrutiny, VT Digger

Gov. Lamont’s promise to generate all of Connecticut’s power from renewable sources of energy by 2040 faces substantial barriers, Hartford Courant

Climate and transportation activists are carrying a 9-foot-tall Charlie Baker puppet around Massachusetts. Here’s why., Boston.com

Climate Strike: Granite Staters Call for Action on Climate Change, New Hampshire Public Radio

Thousands gather on City Hall Plaza as part of youth-led worldwide climate strike event, Boston Globe

In the renewable energy credit market, some are greener than others, VTDigger

Global warming climate strike takes UMass by storm, Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Climate changes: Towns grapple with rising groundwater, dying trees, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Hearing exposes tension over climate policy pace, Southcoasttoday.com

 

 

Wind

7 Projects That Could Put the US Ahead in Floating Offshore Wind, Greentech Media

UMaine lands $1.4m to hatch ‘rocket-fuelled’ floating wind design, Recharge News

Jacobs pushes for moratorium on Great Lakes turbines, Niagara Frontier Publications

Orsted taps GE for 50% more efficient turbines in New Jersey, Maryland offshore wind projects, Utility Dive

During Climate Week, Cuomo announces partnerships with Ireland & Denmark to improve power grids, enable more renewable energy sources, Niagara Frontier Publications

The World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Will Be as Cheap as Coal, Bloomberg

Farmersville board OKs $700,000 host fee pact with Alle Catt Wind Farm, Olean Times Herald

 

Solar

New York Nixes Microgrid in Favor of Solar Power Project, Microgrid Knowledge

When the cost of solar is forestland and farms, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Struggling Farmers See Bright Spot in Solar, Wall St. Journal

Solar tax credit extension would add 82 GW by 2030, SEIA forecasts, Utility Dive

Solar Industry Unsatisfied With Proposed SMART Reforms in Massachusetts, Greentech Media

CT town uses virtual solar as new alternative to power up, Connecticut Post

York to pursue solar farm on former landfill, Seacoastonline.com

Fisherman’s Co-op switches to 100% solar energy, WABI

Oakland to install solar array atop former landfill, cutting town’s electric bill, Portland Press Herald

Dover High School has state’s largest rooftop solar array, Connecticut Post

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Big batteries are starting to cause real change in electricity markets, Concord Monitor

Want to make your home more energy efficient? Try local program HeatSmart, Winchester Wicked Local

Behavior is key to energy savings, Rutland Herald

Efficiency makes clean energy cost-competitive with new gas power plants, ACEEE Blog

 

EVs

Eversource and Greenspot Bring EV Charging Stations and e-Mobility Hubs to Massachusetts Communities, NA Clean Energy

 

Nuclear

AG seeks overturn of Pilgrim license transfer, Cape Cod Times

Nuclear energy too slow, too expensive to save climate: report, Reuters

As Federal Hearing Begins, Seabrook Nuclear Plant’s Neighbors Raise Alarm About Concrete Degradation, NHPR

No safety issues so far in Vermont nuclear plant demolition, AP

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Northeastern utilities aim to ‘crush and flatten’ system peaks as DERs boost grid efficiency, Utility Dive

Independent auditors weigh in on CMP metering, billing investigation, WMTW Portland

Watchdog: Energy Department not doing enough to protect grid against cyber attacks, The Hill

Protesters demonstrate against Stamford firm’s NH power plant, Stamford Advocate

 

Editorial/Opinion

Vineyard Wind limbo is chance for reset, CommonWealth Magazine

Wind-power scam not blowing over, National Wind Watch

The Infamous Wind Turbines – Letter, CapeNews.net

State should halt gas plant, focus on renewables, Republican-American

Keep the Killingly Energy Center on track, Hartford Courant

Revival of Waterford solar plan reason for concern, The Day

Clean energy is the city’s future, by Thomas Webler, Keene Sentinel

My Turn: There’s no power like the power of the people, Concord Monitor

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Filed under Climate Change, Natural Gas Pipelines, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, offshore wind, solar

Energy News for week ending September 20, 2019

Added Costs | Gas Battle in NY | Menu Change

Happy glorious Friday afternoon. Here are the news highlights for this week.

From the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “A new elementary school that produces as much energy as it uses, mandated by the town’s net-zero energy bylaw, would add millions of dollars to the cost of the building, according to a summary of a 600-page report presented to the School Committee and Town Council this week. If the town proceeds with a new $64 million, 85,000-square-foot replacement for the aging Fort River School, solar panels alone would add $6.4 million to the project cost, while extensive energy improvements, in combination with the solar panels, would add $7.7 million, architect Ryszard Szczypek told the elected panels Tuesday…The consultants note that these costs are not out of line with the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s expectations for energy-efficient buildings that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

We’ve included stories about this next topic in past issues of the Northeast Energy News but haven’t highlighted it. Given it’s an ongoing matter we’re calling it out this week. From Crain’s NY Business, “National Grid didn’t get the pipeline it wanted, so now the utility is giving its customers the shaft, Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued Wednesday. The governor told reporters at an unrelated press conference that something smelled funny about the natural gas supplier’s refusal to add new accounts, or to reconnect old ones, in the months after his administration denied a permit to the proposed Williams pipeline. Cuomo has already directed his Public Service Commission to investigate the validity of National Grid’s claims that it lacks the capacity to provide gas to either old or new customers…National Grid did not respond directly to the governor’s remarks, except to state that it was working to illustrate the pipeline’s necessity to his commission.”

We move to Maine for our next story from the Portland Press Herald, “As Maine’s climate warms, what’s on the menu likely will change. Chefs and scientists offer opinions on what we’ll be eating in 50 years. Ask Sam Hayward, co-owner and founding chef of Fore Street, what the famed Portland restaurant might be serving 50 years from now, and he obligingly jumps into an imaginary time capsule to visit 2069 and check out the menu. The question assumes that little has been done since 2019 to put the brakes on climate change. It’s likely, Hayward says, that diners at his restaurant would be feasting on black sea bass, a mid-Atlantic species that already has started moving north into Gulf of Maine waters, or local meat raised on abundant Maine pastureland. “As wild species become more threatened, fish farming will continue to grow, and shellfish farming will grow,” Hayward said. “So you’ll see even more bivalves on the menu, and possibly even some southern species, such as warm-water shrimp, being grown in different places. That’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?” Farmers and fishermen are used to dealing with the vicissitudes of Mother Nature, but unchecked climate change may push her finicky personality into overdrive. Dramatic fluctuations in temperature and rainfall, increasingly acidic oceans, new plant and shellfish diseases and insect pests – all of these may challenge traditional notions of what farmers can grow in Maine and how they grow it, and what fishermen harvest from the sea. Even the smaller aspects of daily life – such as what you order off a menu – may look vastly different 50 years from now.”

That’s the news recap for this week. Enjoy the stories below and have a great weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

National Grid refusing customers to build ‘political pressure’ for pipeline, Cuomo suggests, Crain’s New York

Columbia Gas to inspect 700 abandoned gas lines in Valley, Andover Townsman

Weymouth: Public Involvement Plan Participants Request Meeting Postponement Regarding Fore River Oil Clean-up, WATD-FM

Most states don’t require engineers to review gas projects, Eagle-Tribune

Merrimack Valley Marks 1 Year Since Disastrous Gas Explosions, ESPN

Art exhibit protests Weymouth compressor station, Patriot Ledger

Wind And Natural Gas Are Big Winners In US Power Generation, OilPrice.com

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Burlington, Vermont’s net zero energy roadmap showcases how utilities can lead on climate, Utility Dive

‘Like a sunburn on your lungs’: how does the climate crisis impact health?, The Guardian

EPA data pinpoint largest greenhouse gas emitters in region, Daily Hampshire Gazette

North America has lost 3 billion birds in 50 years, Washington Post

The climate movement to come: how can we build the majoritarian social force we need to slow global warming,? DigBoston

Half-dozen MetroWest, Milford communities awarded grants for clean energy projects, MetroWest Daily News

Carbon-Cutting Cities Plug In to ‘Electrify Everything’ Movement, Bloomberg

Massachusetts Catholic bishops call for action on climate change, environmental protection, MassLive

As Maine’s climate warms, what’s on the menu likely will change, Portland Press Herald

Climate Change Is Having Widespread Health Impacts, Scientific American

Hampshire County gets ‘F’ in air quality rating: Climate change a factor, Daily Hampshire Gazette

What would the Green New Deal look like in the Valley? We asked economists and activists, Daily Hampshire Gazette

‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions, New York Times

Waters off the coast of Maine vulnerable to changing climate, Portland Press Herald

Connecticut’s Small Solutions To Climate Change: New Tool Shows Effects Of Sea Level rise, WNPR

County opts out of solar, wind, farm waste energy tax exemptions, The Recorder (NY)

What To Know About Friday’s Youth Climate Strike In Boston, WBUR

Climate protest: Students converge on downtown Worcester, Telegram.com

Photos from climate strike events across the planet, Boston Globe

 

Wind

The Hamptons Love Green Energy. But That Wind Farm?, New York Times

Ørsted ok’d to bring offshore wind power ashore at Oyster Creek, NJ Spotlight

Antrim Wind project fined for delay, Monadnock Ledger Transcript

New York board approves 242 megawatt wind farm, WENY

Wind And Natural Gas Are Big Winners In US Power Generation, OilPrice.com

Time is now for major upgrade at State Pier, wind deal officials say, The Day

Fishing concerns color N.J. offshore wind hearing,  National Wind Watch

Fishermen demand a say in decisions on offshore wind energy, WHYY

GE Lands First Orders for 12MW Offshore Wind Turbine, and They’re Huge, Greentech Media

 

Solar

Proposed state law would put solar panels on new homes, commercial buildings, MetroWest Daily News

Utility-scale solar pipeline hits 37.9 GW, driven by falling costs and corporate buying: Report, Utility Dive

The State of Floating Solar: Bigger Projects, Climbing Capacity, New Markets, Greentech Media

Rhode Island’s First Community Solar Project Enters Operation, Solar Industry

Solar Industry Unsatisfied With Proposed SMART Reforms in Massachusetts, Greentech Media

CT’s small solutions to climate change: South Windsor goes solar, Connecticut Mirror

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Net-zero school could add $7.7M to cost, consultants tell Amherst boards, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Nothing standing in the way of energy storage’s ‘explosive growth’: Navigant, Utility Dive

Energy Efficiency Can Get U.S. Halfway To Climate Goals, Facility Executive

ACEEE: ‘Ambitious’ energy efficiency could halve US emissions by 2050, Utility Dive

Online Dashboard Shows Energy Efficiency Funding Opportunities, Patch

New York advances toward 3 GW storage goal with 316 MW project to replace gas peakers, Utility Dive

Eos Looks to Scale Up Battery Manufacturing in Pittsburgh, Greentech Media

 

EVs

Eversource and Greenspot Bring EV Charging Stations and e-Mobility Hubs to Massachusetts Communities, NA Clean Energy

 

Nuclear

Nuclear could be the clean energy source the world needs, CNN

Big Plans For Small Nuclear Plants, WBUR

To Combat Climate Change, Do We Need The Nuclear Option?, WBUR

Millstone, utilities finalize 10-year contract, The Day

For Green Energy, MIT Aims To Build ‘A Star On Earth’, WBUR

GE Details Radioactive Trucking Plan, New Haven Independent

NorthStar gets good decommissioning review, Brattleboro Reformer

Three Mile Island’s last day as a working reactor will be Friday, PennLive.com

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CMP submits last-minute change to its power line plan, Portland Press Herald

Sununu narrowly wins veto fights over energy bills, New Hampshire Union Leader

The True Value of Distributed Energy Resources? Connecticut Takes a Stab at it, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

Kill the gas powered plant in Killingly, Hartford Courant

Energy Efficiency Jobs Soar: Now Make Them Available to All, nrdc.org

Maine PUC: Editorial mischaracterizes panel’s role in resolving CMP complaints, Portland Press Herald

The Injustice Of Climate Change, WBUR

Only one beneficiary from Trump attack on fuel standards: Big Oil, Boston Globe

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

Energy News for week ending July 26, 2019

RIP Northern Pass | Market Imperiled | Accosted, harassed and screamed at

 

Good Friday afternoon.

Here’s what’s happening in this week’s energy news.

We begin in New Hampshire where NHPR reports, “Eversource has officially pulled the plug on the Northern Pass transmission line. The utility filed a notice with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday, a spokesman says, ‘reflecting our conclusion that Northern Pass has unfortunately been brought to an end.’ The filing notifies shareholders that the company sees no way forward for its signature project, which it spent nearly a decade promoting. The decision comes after the New Hampshire Supreme Court last week affirmed state regulators’ rejection of the project. Eversource says it spent $318 million trying to get the controversial power line built. Their SEC filing says they’re writing off about $200 million of that after taxes, equal to about 64 cents per share of the company’s stock. A company spokesman says the write-off will have no direct effect on customers or electric rates.”

Moving south to Massachusetts, Greentech Media tells us, “Massachusetts Storage Market Imperiled by Requirement to Buy New Utility Meters. Massachusetts rolled out a new incentive last year to spur solar and energy storage adoption, but installers are worried that a technical requirement could foil the goals of the program. The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) pays residential and commercial customers for solar electricity production. The program is intended to add another 1,600 megawatts of distributed solar capacity, forming a core pillar of Governor Charlie Baker’s ambitious clean energy agenda…To qualify, though, customers have to pay for a new utility meter to measure their production, and that can cost hundreds of dollars. Some types of solar-plus-storage configurations drive the price up even further. The extra cost eats into the incentive dollars that are supposed to pay for clean, dispatchable electricity, a group of installers argued in a June 21 letter to DOER, which designed the program.”

For sure the Cape saw some highly unusual weather this week and there was some serious damage to the distribution infrastructure. Evidently that made some folks in Chatham ah, a little bit, shall we say, crazy. From Boston.com, “As thousands remained without power on Cape Cod Wednesday following Tuesday’s severe storm that spawned two tornadoes, some Chatham residents apparently lost their patience. Chatham police took to Facebook Wednesday afternoon to remind residents to leave the 30 utility crews working throughout town alone. ‘It has come to our attention that some utility work crews have been accosted, harassed and screamed at by citizens demanding that power to their home be turned on,’ police said. Police noted that the repair work, including untangling wires stuck in trees, ‘requires a safe and methodical process.’ ‘They are making good headway and working hard,’ police said. ‘Please let them do their work so they can get us powered back up as soon as possible.’” The good news is that, “Numerous residents in the comments thanked the utility workers and emergency personnel, and expressed dismay at the behavior mentioned in the post.” The better news reported by Cape Cod Today is that, “Eversource to Complete Cape Cod Restoration Ahead of Schedule.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend!

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Southbridge hires lawyer to address LNG plant proposed in Charlton, Telegram.com

Gas company misses deadline for testing soil at Weymouth site, Wicked Local Weymouth

Holyoke City Council committee mulls resolution to increase natural gas service capacity, MassLive

National Grid Isn’t Providing New Gas Hookups in New York, WSJ.com

Compressor TV ad urges governor to oppose facility, Wicked Local

U.S. Cities Might Release More Methane Than Previously Thought, Scientific American

New Poll: New Yorkers Reject the Williams Pipeline, nrdc.org

National Grid faces possible penalty on non-compliance of NY safety rules, Reuters

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Push on Beacon Hill for 100% renewable energy by 2045, Telegram.com

Energy chief says net-zero carbon goal under review, Taunton Gazette

US Cities Boost Clean Energy Efforts but Few on Track to Meet Climate Goals, ACEEE

Groton man seeking to ship boulders from New London’s State Pier to protect against the rising sea challenges Connecticut over wind energy deal, Hartford Courant

Clean energy report highlights Lexington’s renewable schools project, Wicked Local Lexington

As Temperatures Soar During Heat Wave, So Will CO, Scientific American

Weekend Energy Use Neared N.E. Megawatt Record, ECO RI

State government seeks community input on major transport and climate initiative, Worcester Mag

Push on Beacon Hill for 100% renewable energy by 2045, Telegram & Gazette

House Passes $1B Plan for Local Climate Change Projects, U.S. News & World Report

 

Wind

Mass. delegation pushing to advance vineyard wind, Herald News

Pacheco raises concerns on offshore wind pricing, CommonWealth Magazine

Ørsted to develop offshore wind manufacturing hub to service East Coast, Utility Dive

Hancock County reaches settlement over wind farm payments it said were too small, Bangor Daily News

Wind turbine company opens Rhode Island HQ, Materials Today

Wind victory comes at just the right time for Eversource, Boston Globe

Building Smart Offshore Wind Power, nrdc.org

New York passes its Green New Deal, announces massive offshore wind push, Ars Technica

U.S. Offshore Wind: From ‘Nice To Have’ To ‘Need To Have’, NRG Wind Project

Baker should tip hand on offshore wind price gap, group says, Taunton Daily Gazette

After Years Of Planning, Cuomo Green Lights Wind Farm Off Montauk, USA Patch

 

Solar

Key Committee Approves Bills That Require Solar Panels On New Massachusetts Buildings, ECO RI

National Grid increases partners for virtual power plant project, Smart Energy

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Massachusetts Storage Market Imperiled by Requirement to Buy New Utility Meters, Greentech Media

Northeastern States Primed to Be the Next Major Energy Storage Market, Greentech Media

In Support of a National Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, nrdc.org

High-performance flow batteries offer path to grid-level renewable energy storage, Science Daily

Private Equity Wants In on Energy Storage Revenues, Greentech Media

 

EVs

Clean energy report highlights Concord’s electric school bus program, Wicked Local

New York expands access to EV charging incentives, blocks Tesla from qualifying, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

Ohio Law Bails Out Nuclear Power Plants By Eliminating Clean Energy Standards, U.S. News & World Report

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Eversource Pulls Plug On Northern Pass After N.H. Supreme Court Rebuke, NHPR

‘Accosted, harassed and screamed at’: Chatham police told residents to stop bothering utility crews attempting to restore power, Boston.com

Eversource to Complete Cape Cod Restoration Ahead of Schedule, Cape Cod Today

Maine regulators blast utility rate hike, customer service ‘deficiences’ in local op-ed, Utility Dive

Lexington rep’s utility assessment hike to fuel bigger DPU budget, Wicked Local Lexington

New York researchers collaborate to develop a cleaner, more reliable power grid, Windpower Engineering and Development

Study: Municipal electric utilities greener, have lower costs, WB Journal

Incentives to save energy, Eagle-Tribune

Harvesting hybrid solutions from performance-based rates: ‘Not all or nothing’, Utility Dive

Energy chief says net-zero carbon goal under review, Herald News

 

Editorial/Opinion

Feds shouldn’t stymie Mass. wind power, Boston Globe

The Case for Switching From Natural Gas Hookups to Heat Pumps, Greentech Media

Recognizing work of Columbia Gas employees, Eagle-Tribune

Time for true regional approach in building our electricity future, Foster’s
Daily Democrat

Letter: We don’t need more gas pipeline, Telegram

Letter: NH ready to be fossil-free, Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Letter: We all have to breathe Killingly’s air, The Bulletin

Wind farm planners have done due diligence, Cape Cod Times

Opinion | Air conditioning is making the world a hotter place, Mint

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

Energy News for week ending June 28, 2019

Permit Approved | No difference | Eat ‘em up

 

Happy glorious summer Friday afternoon!

Let’s see what’s in this week’s energy news.

From the Patriot Ledger, “Opponents of a natural gas compressor station proposed for a site in Weymouth were dealt another blow Thursday as a state adjudicator recommended the approval of an air-quality permit for the project. Hearing officer Jane Rothchild of the state Department of Environmental Protection said the department should uphold a permit issued to gas company Spectra Energy-Enbridge and reject an appeal filed by Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree, Hingham and a citizens group, which together had argued that the proposed station would worsen air pollution in the Fore River Basin and endanger the lives of nearby residents. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg has the final say on the approval of the permit, but Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund said he doesn’t expect Suuberg to deny it. Hedlund on Thursday said he is ‘disappointed but not shocked’ by the decision, and said the town was considering its legal options for further appeal.”

On Monday, Vineyard Wind said it would move three turbines to help preserve fishing grounds, but yesterday according to an article on South Coast Today the fisheries groups basically replied, “Yeah. No.” “Vineyard Wind’s decision to move three turbines farther away from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket makes no significant difference to the preservation of fishing grounds, fisheries sources say. The offshore wind company announced Monday that it had removed three of the 84 planned turbines from the north end of the grid and placed them elsewhere among its 106 approved turbine locations. The south side of the Islands, where the change was made, is a prime squid fishing ground. Katie Almeida, fisheries policy analyst for Rhode Island squid dealer The Town Dock, told The Standard-Times the move will do little to help the industry. ‘The removal of the turbines gives a very small portion of our traditional fishing grounds back, however we still don’t know how construction and operation are going to affect squid in and around that lease area,’ she said. With spacing of Vineyard Wind turbines starting at eight-tenths of a mile apart, the space represents a few square miles. The wind farm is about 14 miles from shore.”

Lord knows I love my calamari (that just sounds so much more appetizing than squid), but how about Green Eggs and Ham? Scratch that – I meant to write green crabs. From the Boston Globe, “Green crabs are wreaking havoc on our coastal habitat. So let’s eat them. “When life gives you lemons,” the saying goes, “make lemonade.” And when life fills the ocean with invasive green crabs that prey on the local shellfish population and wreak havoc on the coastal habitat, The Green Crab R&D Project says eat them. Not only will you be helping the environment, you will enjoy a culinary specialty that has been celebrated in Venice for generations. Green crabs (which, despite the name can be any color, even multi-hued) are native to parts of Western Europe and North Africa. They first appeared on the East Coast of North America in the early 1800s, but did not proliferate until the late 20th century. Today they have invaded nearly every continent, and their populations and range are expected to increase with climate change. Though relatively small, they are fierce and prey on a variety of shellfish. In their search the crabs cut through eelgrass, damaging essential sea life habitats. Each female can lay 185,000 eggs per year, and according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, a single crab can eat 40 half-inch clams in a day. The Green Crab R&D Project (greencrab.org), established in 2017, is a nonprofit dedicated to developing markets for green crabs, both to remove the predatory creatures from the water and to help fishermen and -women develop alternative sources of revenue. In February the group released “The Green Crab Cookbook,” written by executive director Mary Parks and Thanh Thai and contributors to the Project. All proceeds from the book go to the organization.”

Consider that your tip for your next barbecue.

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

State adjudicator OKs Weymouth compressor station air permit, Patriot Ledger

For power plant opponents, EFSB decision was grown on home turf, Breeze Publications

Fed up lawmakers seek air monitoring laws near Weymouth compressor, Wicked Local

Philly refinery explosion set to drive up holiday gas prices in Northeast U.S., PhillyVoice

Activists use art to draw attention to Weymouth compressor controversy, Patriot Ledger

NextEra sees batteries displacing gas-fired peakers, otherwise bullish on gas, Platts

Health officials want studies of natural gas projects, Gloucester Times

Cuomo’s opposition to natural gas hurts environment, report argues,  Crain’s NY Business

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Senators target 50% national renewable energy standard by 2035, zero-carbon by 2050, Utility Dive

Kids suing governments about climate: It’s a global trend, National Geographic

A Whale Of A Problem: Youth Climate Activists Construct Mosaic In Boston, Demand Action, WBUR

How Do You Talk to Children About Climate Change?, New York Times

Green crabs are wreaking havoc on our coastal habitat. So let’s eat them., Boston Globe

Governor wants Pennsylvania to join greenhouse gas reduction program, Reuters

Massachusetts regulators approve state’s largest clean energy procurement, Utility Dive

Lawmakers discuss Brayton Point’s potential as ‘renewable energy headquarters,’ Herald News

Wild Weather Is Endangering World’s Oldest Form of Clean Power, Bloomberg

It’s true: Environmental and business groups are on the same page, Boston Globe

How an Eagle’s Nest Shows the Challenges of New York’s Climate Plan, New York Times

How America’s biggest renewable-energy power line failed, Axios

 

Wind

Fishermen say Vineyard Wind’s turbine relocation makes no difference, South Coast today

Vineyard Wind moves turbines to aid fishing vessels, South Coast Today

Orsted Wins New Jersey’s First Offshore Wind Solicitation, Greentech Media

Building the Wind Turbines Was Easy. The Hard Part Was Plugging Them In, Wall St. Journal

After Brayton Point visit, Markey backs extended tax credits for wind industry, Herald News

Interior delays, costs may dim offshore wind’s prospects, E&E News

The Push Is On For More Wind Farms Off the South Fork, Sag Harbor Express

Will future sunsets over Lake Erie include windmills?, WBFO

Building an offshore wind industry along the US East Coast: The role of state collaboration, McKinsey & Company

N.J. just gave the green light to build the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, NJ.com

Court rules in favor of Villenova residents in wind turbine lawsuit, Observer Today

 

Solar

Tufts adds new solar energy systems, expands its commitment to clean energy, Newswise.com

New laws hope to build up solar and fight climate change, NewscenterMaine.com

The reality behind solar power’s next star material, Nature

Charge your phone with solar power as a first step to going green, CNET

 

Efficiency/Storage

Massachusetts sweetening the deal for energy storage systems, Axios

Haddam home among Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge winners, The Advocate

As Trump Administration pursues wide-ranging attacks on energy efficiency, states, others fight back, Utility Dive

Maine Decides to Go Big on Heat Pumps, Greentech Media

Arizona, New Jersey homes costliest to cool in summer, Sense finds, Utility Dive

Heat Pump Water Heaters Can be Demand Response Assets, Greentech Media

 

EVs

State plans to scrap electric vehicle rebate, Salem News

In lobbying battle for electric vehicle tax credit, it’s car makers vs. the oil and gas industry, Washington Post

 

Nuclear

The Latest: US senators look to end nuclear waste stalemate, AP

SNC Lavalin : AMERICA’S $60 BILLION POT OF GOLD, Marketscreener.com

Concrete expert to speak on Seabrook Station, Newburyport Daily News

Regulators Tour Seabrook Nuclear Plant Ahead Of Hearing On Concrete Cracks, New Hampshire Public Radio

A Boston startup developing a nuclear fusion reactor just got a roughly $50 million boost, TechCrunch

Cambridge fusion energy startup completes $115 million funding round, Boston Globe

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices, etc.

Newspaper’s investigation says Maine utility misled public, Associated Press

New operating reserve region to launch in NYISO’s energy markets, S&P Global Platts

Despite emissions concerns, Hydro-Quebec contracts OK’d, CommonWealth Magazine

Residents: Eversource’s plan to spray herbicides must be stopped, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Work on Seacoast Reliability Project moves ahead, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Smart meter swap promised savings that never came, Sun Journal

Large and Unique Mass Transit Microgrid Moves Forward in New Jersey, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

Letter: Four reasons sununu’s net metering veto harms NH, Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Polisena: Board’s decision on Burrillville plant ‘disappointing’, Johnston Sun Rise

As Trump Administration pursues wide-ranging attacks on energy efficiency, states, others fight back, Keene Sentinel

Our View: Customers need real answers from Central Maine Power, Portland Press Heralds

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Filed under Climate Change, Natural Gas Pipelines, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, offshore wind, solar

Energy News for week ending June 7, 2019

Crowd-sourcing | Permit denied | Transformation

 

Happy beautiful Friday afternoon folks.

Let’s get to the news.

From CommonWealth Magazine, “Crowd-sourcing energy efficiency. Eversource Energy on Wednesday began offering businesses and homeowners incentive payments ranging from $20 to $1,000 a year if they allow the company to tap into devices that would allow the utility to remotely retrieve electricity stored by customers or lower their energy usage at peak demand periods. Developed as part of the state’s $2.8 billion, three-year energy efficiency program, Eversource said the incentive payment program would target customers with electric vehicle chargers, battery storage devices, or wireless thermostats. Customers with vehicle chargers or battery storage systems would allow Eversource to remotely link to the devices ‘a few hours a month,’ drawing electricity that would be shifted on to the regional power grid at peak demand periods. For homeowners with wireless thermostats, Eversource would remotely turn down the temperature on very hot days and help reduce demand on the power grid. By aggregating the devices of several thousand customers, Eversource estimated it could reduce the need for new power plants and transmission facilities. The company described the energy impact of the program as the equivalent of taking 20,000 homes off the power grid at peak demand times.”

Another pipeline permit is denied according to a story from Crain’s NY Business, “NJ joins NY in denying permits for hotly contested natural-gas pipeline. New Jersey regulators followed New York’s in denying key permits for the Williams Transco pipeline Wednesday, prompting its developer to promise to reapply in the Garden State. The proposed $1 billion pipeline, from Tulsa-based William Cos., would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey, under a bay and the ocean to New York. The company says the pipeline is necessary to ensure adequate heating fuel for the New York region. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rejected the permits—including one for waterfront development and wetlands works—without prejudice, meaning the company can try again. The company was similarly rebuffed by New York regulators for a water-quality permit last month. The developer has reapplied there as well. In the meantime, National Grid has stopped processing new applications for natural-gas hookups in its Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island service territories until the project is approved.”

The last highlight for this week is a story you can read or listen to and comes from WBUR, “New England’s Electric Power Grid Is Undergoing A Transformation. Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, says the region has a problem: ‘It’s really hard to be half pregnant, but we’re trying.’ The problem: We’re creating a hybrid power grid, an electric-generating network that runs on a changing combination of fuels and technologies. He says the system is more complex and less predictable than the grid we had just a few years ago.”

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

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Offshore drilling ban gets airing, Salem News

Healey intervenes in suit over oil transport, Cape Cod Times

Latest Federal Pipeline Safety Proposal Looks To Fix Problems Revealed In Merrimack Valley Gas Fires, WGBH

DEP Shows New Air Quality Data in Compressor Case, Associated Press

Weymouth compressor foes have more time to vet new air quality data, Wicked Local

Williams expects to overcome environmental concerns on Northeast Supply natgas pipe, Reuters

New Jersey joins New York in denying permits for hotly contested natural gas pipeline, Crain’s New York

Latest Federal Pipeline Safety Proposal Looks To Fix Problems Revealed In Merrimack Valley Gas Fires, WGBH

Water a big concern for utilities, but coal ash risk in billions, Bloomberg L.P.

Michael Bloomberg Promises $500 Million to Help End Coal, New York Times

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Teen Climate Activist Greta Thunberg: ‘This Is Not Over Yet, Not Even Close,’ Greentech Media

In future Mass bids, offshore wind could be forced to compete with other green energy, South Coast Today

Bill to require greenhouse gas study of CMP project falters in House, Press Herald

Environmentalists tout offshore wind, plastic bag, solar measures, The Day

Springfield organizers, residents voice opposition to biomass burning, WWLP

New England Is Losing Its Native Plants. Researchers Say It’s Time To Stop And Smell The Wildflowers, WBUR

 

Wind

Connecticut takes a major step into offshore wind, CT Mirror

The rush is on: to double offshore wind power, that is, Boston Globe

Wind farm critics step up efforts, National Wind Watch

Jones Act? Not a Problem for US Offshore Wind Market, Avangrid Says, Greentech Media

Revolution Wind will use State Pier, The Day

Rhode Island’s Planned New Offshore Wind Farm Reflects Growing Trend. Here’s Why Some Are Concerned, WNPR

 

Solar

New York braces for solar fight as utility regulators mull fixed charge increase, Renewable Energy World

Proposed Bridgewater solar farm re-emerges after court battle, Enterprise News

Sununu Vetoes Net Metering Bill Again, Setting Up Repeat Override Battle, New Hampshire Public Radio

Proposed solar fee raises questions about who pays for grid upgrades, VTDigger

 

Efficiency/Storage

Crowd-sourcing energy efficiency, CommonWealth Magazine

US energy storage market sees 232% year-on-year growth, Utility Dive

 

EVs

New Jersey governor announces state interagency electric vehicle partnership; 330K ZEVs by 2025, Green Car Congress

 

Nuclear

Pilgrim’s shutdown ends nuke era in Mass., Sentinel & Enterprise

Group looks to monitor Seabrook power plant radiation, Seacoast Online

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

New England’s Electric Power Grid Is Undergoing A Transformation, WBUR

Governor’s choice to lead Public Utilities Commission pledges to move to R.I., Providence Journal

Getting Offshore Wind Power on the Grid, T&D World

Lt. Governor Mckee announces $7.9 million in utility rate relief for Rhode Islanders, Newport Buzz

ISO-NE will require wind, intermittent hydro to bid into day-ahead energy markets, Utility Dive

New England Regulators Talk Wholesale Market Evolution, RTO Insider

The Multiple Problems With National Grid, Seeking Alpha

Growing number of towns revolt against CMP transmission line, Portland Press Herald

CMP defends competing job claims; critics cry foul, Associated Press

 

Editorial/Opinion

When companies say they’re using “100% renewable energy,” take it with a grain of salt, Fast Company

Energy forecast: Good today, future uncertain, CommonWealth Magazine

Debunking the fracked gas fairy tale, CommonWealth Magazine

To lawmakers: tread carefully on energy legislation, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Debunking the fracked gas fairy tale, Commonwealth Magazine

Callous disregard for neighbors of proposed Weymouth compressor, Boston Globe

Lilly Lombard: Climate crisis solution needs help from Columbia Gas, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Energy forecast: Good today, future uncertain, CommonWealth Magazine

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

Energy News for week ending April 12, 2019

Transparent Wood | Housing Upgrade | No. 1 Threat to the Grid

 

Happy Friday afternoon.

 

This week we start with something that’s seems fantastical but is possible – see-through wood. From the New Scientist, “Transparent wood could one day replace glass in windows. A process for turning it see-through also gives it heat-retaining powers, which could help regulate the temperature of buildings. Céline Montanari at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and colleagues built on previous work which created transparent wood by removing a structural component called lignin from wood, allowing light to filter through. For the next stage, the team soaked de-lignified birch wood in PEG (polyethylene glycol), a polymer that is also found in theatre smoke machines and toothpaste. When encapsulated in the wood panels, this makes it harder for heat to cross – whether you’re insulating a building against the cold outside, or trying to keep out summer heat…’When we build we try to use a lot of glass, but it has a drawback of being a bad insulator, so there are large amounts of heat loss,’ says Montanari. ‘Wood is really amazing, 10 times better at insulating, but it does not transmit light.’ The composite wood isn’t quite as good an insulator as natural wood, but is around four times better than high-end double glazing. The material can also bear heavy loads and is biodegradable, making it easier to dispose of than concrete or glass.”

Next we have a story that I don’t think anyone can complain about. From WCAI, Energy Company Gives Osprey Pair A Housing Upgrade. “Harwich residents brought doughnuts out for Eversouce Energy workers on Tuesday morning as the crew put up a nest platform for a pair of ospreys on Route 28. The birds arrived in the area at the end of March for nesting season but when they went to settle into their old haunt on top of a telephone pole, the nest was gone. Eversource had dismantled the osprey’s nest and covered the site with a rounded plastic guard because the nest posed a safety hazard, says Eversource spokesman Reid Lamberty. ‘It is a matter of a risk to our electric system, to people and to ospreys themselves, in fact, as these nests do have the potential to cause a fire.’ Every time Eversouce takes down an osprey nest from one of their utility poles, they look for a nearby location to build an alternative nesting platform, Lamberty says. But they can’t always find a good spot…This time though, the birds got lucky. After bird watcher Sally Steinmann of South Harwich complained to Eversource, the company agreed to build a nest platform off a nearby utility pole. ‘The public outcry is what made this happen,’ Steinmann says. ‘But it’s the birds who made us want to help them.’”

Speaking of grid hazards, most people think cyber attacks are the greatest threat to the electric grid. It turns out that’s not the case. From Inside Sources, “Last week, President Donald Trump released an executive order intended to protect the U.S. from electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks against the electric grid. But there is another threat to the grid, one that is far more low-tech and far more common, than a smuggled EMP device: Squirrels. ‘I’m all for increasing grid resilience, but here’s a threat priority list: 1. Squirrels 2. Tree branches 3. Heat waves/hurricanes/other climate-amplified threats,’ joked Costa Samaras, an Adjunct Senior Researcher at the RAND Corporation in a tweet. He may have been joking, but his math is dead on.  For a small mammal, squirrels cause a surprising amount of damage to the grid. In 2016 alone, utilities reported 3,456 outages caused by squirrels, cutting off power to more than 193,873 customers. These incidents are more common in the spring and fall but can happen throughout the year. To try to stop the furry menaces and to keep equipment safe, utility companies employ a variety of deterrents like wheels, cages, and guards. Despite these efforts, squirrels are a constant operating hazard.” And here I thought keeping them out of the bird feeder was hard enough.

That’s the news for this week. Enjoy the stories below. Have a great weekend. And if you’re running Boston on Monday, take care and have fun!

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Sen. Markey unveils federal pipeline safety legislation named after Leonel Rondon, killed in Valley gas disaster, Eagle Tribune

Pennsylvania governor under scrutiny for role in approving pipeline, The Guardian

Trump Plans to Sign Executive Orders to Expedite Pipelines, Wall St. Journal

Study: Natural gas pipelines leaking in Danbury, other cities, Connecticut Post

Power Plant Hearings End, Decision This Summer, ECO RI

Compressor Station Opponents Urged to Oppose Gas, ECO RI

Trump’s order would make it harder for states to block pipelines, Kennebec Journal

Utility Blamed for Gas Explosions Resumes Efforts to Replace Damaged Heating Equipment, NECN

Ocean uproar: saving marine life from a barrage of noise, Nature

Dominion gas explosion kills one, injures 17 in North Carolina, Utility Dive

‘Bomb Trains.’ Trump’s Plan to Ship Natural Gas by Rail Raises Alarm, Fortune

MIT says we’re overlooking a near-term solution to diesel trucking emissions, Ars Technica

Inside the Gas Industry’s Plan to Sink Nuclear Power, Daily Beast

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

How Climate Change Is Fueling the U.S. Border Crisis, The New Yorker

Is Mass. Keeping Its Offshore Wind, Hydro Procurement Promises?, Climate X Change

Global CO2 levels ‘unprecedented’ in last 3M years, E&E News

Millennial legislators bond around push for renewables, Taunton Gazette

Investors Should Worry If Climate Goals Are Missed, Report Warns, Bloomberg

Maryland General Assembly approves 50 percent renewable energy target for 2030, The Baltimore Sun

Nahant earns Green Community designation, Daily Item

100% renewable energy ‘moonshot’ for millennials at Fitchburg State forum, Telegram

Among other millennials, Framingham state Rep. Maria Robinson pushes for renewables, MetroWest Daily News

Climate Change Throws Shade on Forest Wildflowers, Boston University

UNH research: 14 wild bee species native to New England on the decline, New Hampshire Union Leader

Biomass plants ask state Supreme Court to intervene over law, WMUR

 

Wind

State delays decision on Vineyard Wind cable, Cape Cod Times

Vineyard Wind commits to fisheries monitoring, Cape Cod Times

New Jerseyans like the idea of expanding wind power, poll finds, NJ 101.5

New Jersey governor unveils portal to enhance state’s offshore wind supply chain, Utility Dive

US grid developer seeks offshore insights, reNews

Scaling the US East Coast offshore wind industry to 20 gigawatts and beyond, McKinsey & Company

Offshore wind output beats solar for the first time in Germany, Recharge

Bernie Sanders Video Mocks Trump for Being the ‘Only Person in the World’ Who Believes Wind Turbines Cause Cancer, Newsweek

Windsor and Sanford Residents voice their displeasure with a planned wind turbine project, WICZ

 

Solar

L.A. could replace traditional power plants with home solar, experts say, NBC News

New community solar project in Hartland, VT converts brownfield to brightfield, VTDigger

As key solar perk hits sunset, CT grapples with net metering, Connecticut Post

SW looks at solar panels on school roofs, Journal Inquirer

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Windows made of transparent wood could help keep buildings warm, New Scientist

States can grow battery resources with ‘one simple step,’ report finds, Utility Dive

Eversource advances Cape Cod battery project, defers 13-mile distribution line, Utility Dive

Energy efficiency utilities offer $500 incentive for weatherization, VTDigger

MASS SAVE earns 2019 Energy Star® partner of the year – sustained excellence award, Utility Dive

Researchers charge ahead on battery storage, Phys.org

Vattenfall to test salt-based power storage technology, Reuters

 

EVs

Bipartisan group of lawmakers proposes extending tax credits for electric, fuel cell vehicles, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

Three Mile Island nuclear reactor dismantling could take six decades, more than $1 billion, Philadelphia Enquirer

NRC sets Sept. hearing date for C-10’s filing, Newburyport Daily News

Indian Point Unit 3 returns to service after final refueling, Mid-Hudson News

Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewing Millstone decommissioning funds, The Day

Ohio Lawmakers Consider Bailout Plan for the State’s Two Nuclear Power Plants, WKSU

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Eversource fights to keep Northern Pass alive, Boston Globe

This Threat To America’s Energy Grid Is Driving Security Experts Nuts, Inside Sources

How the Energy Department Tackles Cyberthreats, Fedtech Magazine

Berkshire delegation says Baker’s cuts to LIHEAP ‘a shock,‘ Berkshire Eagle

ISO-NE considers new seasonal forward market to improve energy security, Utility Dive

CMP wins key certificate from regulators for transmission line, Portland Press Herald

Watertown hydro plant’s three turbines creating power, Watertown Daily Times

Energy Company Gives Osprey Pair A Housing Upgrade, Cape and Islands NPR

Opponents of CMP transmission line project push bills to slow it down, Portland Press Herald

$30M in state funding available for electric grid projects, Syracuse.com

 

Editorial/Opinion

Nuclear Power Can Save the World, New York Times

Gas hookup moratoriums are not good for any of us, CommonWealth Magazine

Retiring our nuclear plants would be a costly mistake, former federal energy official says, NJ.com

Power companies must prove need for extending natural gas pipelines in New England (Letters), MassLive

Steven Kahl: The Electric Economy is the future, Kennebec Journal

As I See It: Solar on all new homes would help protect Massachusetts’ air and water, Telegram

Retiring our nuclear plants would be a costly mistake, former federal energy official says, NJ.com

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