Category Archives: Renewables

Energy News for week ending July 24, 2020

Reluctantly Rejected | Wind that Works

Happy Friday.

It’s been a fairly quiet week for energy news, so we’ll keep it short.

From Commonwealth Magazine, “Healey reluctantly rejects Brookline bylaw. Measure banned most oil, gas pipes in new buildings. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office on Tuesday reluctantly shot down a bylaw approved by the town of Brookline that would have barred the installation of most fossil fuel infrastructure in any new buildings or significant rehabs of existing buildings. In a 12-page ruling, Healey applauded the town’s bid to start addressing greenhouse gas emissions but said the bylaw approved overwhelmingly by town meeting members in November is preempted by the state building code, gas code, and a law giving the Department of Public Utilities oversight of the sale and distribution of natural gas in Massachusetts.”

Also from CommonWealth Magazine we have, “Bernhardt eager for offshore wind ‘that works.’ Secretary Of The Interior David Bernhardt flew into Boston on Tuesday where he defended putting Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first large-scale wind farm, on hold for more than a year and promised a key permitting decision on the project in December that will work for both wind developers and fishing interests. Bernhardt, whose boss, President Trump, has shown little interest in offshore wind, said he is eager to launch the offshore wind industry. ‘I am very eager to do it, but I am eager to do it in a way that works,’ he said. ‘Let me give you an example. In the West we do wind. You know where we don’t put a windmill? In the middle of a highway. You can drive all the roads in the west and you’re not going to drive into a windmill.’ His comment appeared to be a reference to concerns of fishing groups that wind turbines would block access to fishing grounds and hamper navigation. ‘We don’t whack people with an unnecessary burden if we can avoid it and do things sustainably,’ he said. ‘I need a development program that is done in a way that’s sustainable for everybody.’”

Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

The most powerful renewable energy, BBC

Study of emissions and virus deaths implicates EPA policy, E&E News

Climate Change Poses ‘Systemic Threat’ to the Economy, Big Investors Warn, New York Times

Global Warming Is Driving Polar Bears Toward Extinction, Researchers Say, New York Times

Rich Americans spew more carbon pollution at home than poor, AP

Major new climate study rules out less severe global warming scenarios, Washington Post

Hydrogen Becomes More Viable as a Microgrid Fuel, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Wind

Bernhardt eager for offshore wind ‘that works,’ CommonWealth Magazine

State lawmakers call for action on wind farm, Cape Cod Times

New York Issues Second Offshore Wind Solicitation, Overcoming Coronavirus Delays, Greentech Media

Development of East Providence marine terminal gains $15M in Rebuild Rhode Island incentives, Providence Business News

New Jersey drafts offshore wind solicitation for up to 2.4 GW, Utility Dive

Senate Republicans urge McConnell to include clean energy in COVID-19 recovery package, Utility Dive

Lake turbines part of new state power play, Observer Today (NY)

 

Solar

‘They need to be ready.’ Study warns of growing solar waste, E&E News

Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company Reports on Progress for Solar Project on Landfill in Brattleboro Vermont, Globe Newswire

 

EVs

Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities investigates advanced metering and time varying rates for customers with electric vehicles, Energy and Cleantech Counsel

Auto Makers Charge Ahead With Electric-Vehicle Plans, Wall St. Journal

New York investor-owned utilities to fund $701M make-ready EV infrastructure program, Utility Dive

In electric car market, it’s Tesla and a jumbled field of also-rans, Boston Business Journal (subscriber content)

 

Nuclear

Nuclear power has been top-down and hierarchical. These women want to change that., Vox

Bribery Scandals Taint Efforts to Save U.S. Nuclear Plants, Bloomberg Quint

Gas

Ashland Select Board requests AG’s aid in Eversource pipeline fight, MetroWest Daily News

Healey reluctantly rejects Brookline bylaw, CommonWealth Magazine

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Bill to replace CMP with public entity faces key vote Friday, Press Herald

New findings show Maine Power could produce $9 billion in benefits for Maine people, Maine House Democrats

Grid operators agree on short-term gas benefits, but say it shouldn’t limit renewables growth, Utility Dive

 

Events

Hydrogen and the Green Economy, NECA Webinar, July 29, 2020

EBC Second Annual New England Climate Change, Resilence & Adaptation Summit: Part One – State Leadership, July 31, 2020

Webinar: Retail Energy Choice in 2020: An in-depth discussion on what the most recent data really means for consumers, CT Power and Energy Society, August 25, 2020

Co-Keynotes—Forging Decarbonization Plans & Essential Policies, Implementing Decarbonization Strategies—It Takes The Whole Village, Online, Restructuring Roundtable, September 25, 2020

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

Energy News for week ending July 17, 2020

Net Metering Petition Dismissed | Double Capacity | We’re Still on Top

Happy Friday.

This week’s big news came out on Thursday when FERC dismissed a petition to declare solar net metering policies illegal. From Greentech Media, “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday unanimously rejected a plea to declare all state solar net-metering policies illegal, a victory for solar industry groups and state policymakers. All four FERC commissioners voted to dismiss the April petition from the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA), which argued that FERC, not states, should have jurisdiction over sales of electricity from customer-sited generators like rooftop solar. ‘We find that the petition does not identify a specific controversy or harm that the commission should address in a declaratory order,’ FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in Thursday’s FERC open meeting. NERA, a New Hampshire-based 501(c)(4) organization that hasn’t disclosed its backers, said FERC should take up the group’s legal argument to assert federal jurisdiction over net metering regulations in 41 states that ‘overcompensate distributed generators at the expense of all other electricity consumers.’”

Sticking with solar, in Massachusetts this week the State House News Service via WBUR reports, “New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity. Industry groups on Wednesday largely welcomed the updated regulations that the Baker administration filed for a solar energy development program, saying the new rules will help the state meet its climate goals and help the solar industry as it deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, but some also said the update does not go far enough. The updated regulations for the state’s Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive program, which is designed to facilitate solar projects by ensuring financing, double the program’s capacity, expand eligibility criteria for low-income solar projects and encourage the adoption of energy storage technology.” The regulations took effect Wednesday.

Last story for this week is new “old news.” From Wallethub, “2020’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States. In the U.S., energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range. And lower energy prices don’t necessarily equate to savings. Where we live and how much energy we use are a big part of the equation. While commercial and industrial electricity use have declined in 2020 due to business closures during lockdowns, residential electricity use has actually increased, which means many people will be forking over larger checks to their power companies. To better understand the impact of energy on our finances relative to our location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our analysis uses a special formula that accounts for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.” The results for the Northeast, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire are the top 4 most expensive states. Maine comes in at six and Vermont is 11th.

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

‘Enormous Step’ for Energy Storage as Court Upholds FERC Order 841, Opening Wholesale Markets, Greentech Media

US, Canadian gas utilities’ energy efficiency investments grow to $1.47B, S&P Global

Eversource puts in place new safety guidelines for energy efficiency services, Daily Energy Insider

Net Zero as the New Standard, Commercial Property Executive

Energy storage, tick disease and antique snowmobile bills signed into law, Concord Monitor

Become More Energy Efficient And Save Money, WWLP MassAppeal

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Biden unveils ambitious plan to reach 100% clean electricity by 2035, pour trillions into green energy, ABC News

Never let a good crisis go to waste, CT Mirror

This Al Gore-supported project uses AI to track the world’s emissions in near real time, Fast Company

Global Methane Emissions Reach a Record High, New York Times

Trump to Weaken Environmental Rules to Speed Infrastructure Permits, New York Times

Boston has already experienced some of the nation’s worst tidal flooding — and it’s going to get much worse, study finds, Boston Globe

Siberian heat streak and Arctic temperature record virtually ‘impossible’ without global warming, study says, Washington Post

Key trends to disrupt the US renewables market in the next six months, Smart Energy International

How the ‘15-Minute City’ Could Help Post-Pandemic Recovery, Bloomberg City Lab

Six Places Doing It Right, Politico

Tidal energy may help remote communities integrate more renewable energy, techxplor.com

UMass Lowell receives grant to support clean energy, Lowell Sun

 

Wind

Wind Port project, where towering turbines could be made, looks like game-changer for Garden State, renewable energy companies, ROI NJ

‘We’re here for the people,’ Observer Today (NY)

New Road Map for Murphy Administration’s Offshore Wind Ambitions, NJ Spotlight

 

Solar

FERC Unanimously Dismisses Effort to Undermine Solar Net Metering, Greentech Media

New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity, State House News via WBUR

Massachusetts Finalizes Distributed Solar Rules With Fewer Restrictions on Land Use, Greentech Media

 

EVs

The Energy 202: More than a dozen states unite to boost electric trucks, Washington Post

Next Up for Electrification: Heavy-Duty Trucks and Construction Machinery, Greentech Media

Electric cars got crushed in 2020, but next year could be their best, Quartz.com (subscriber content)

Where do electric vehicles fit in energy grid management,? Automotive World Today

 

Nuclear

Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects, The Hill

 

Gas

Public resistance and high costs are canceling pipelines across the country, Philadelphia Inquirer

The Natural Gas Divide, grist.org

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Connecticut to Look at Resilience, Renewables & NWAs in Grid Modernization Proceeding, Microgrid Knowledge

Hydro-Québec sweetens 1,200-MW transmission line deal with Maine, S&P Global

Top 3 trends shaping the future power utility sector, Smart Energy International

2020’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States, Wallet Hub

Former MassCEC chief takes CEO role at Burlington power company, Boston Business Journal

Eversource Energy : Delivers Summer Electricity Savings to Customers in Eastern Massachusetts, Market Screener

 

Opinion

Activists Not Only Slow Oil Pipelines, But Also Power Lines Needed For Renewable Energy, Forbes.com

Our racist fossil fuel energy system, Boston Globe

Rhetoric vs. Reality: The Myth of “Renewable Natural Gas” for Building Decarbonization, earthjustice.org

Holding on to power, Why storage is a crucial part of the state’s new energy vision, NJBiz

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

Energy News for week ending June 26, 2020

Carbon Tax | Solar Limbo | StEnSea

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start we a story from the Concord Monitor, “New England Power Generators pushing for a carbon tax. A utility group representing most of the power plants in New England is supporting the idea of a tax on the carbon content of emissions, an idea supported by many economists as the simplest and most market-based way to reduce greenhouse gas production. The report by Cavicchi and Paul Hibbard of the Analysis Group for New England Power Generators Association says a price of between $25 and $70 per ton of CO2 in emissions would drive changes in electricity production, transportation and heating that could meet the region’s emissions targets. A carbon tax would raise the price of gasoline and heating oil, spurring a switch to electric vehicles and electric heat pumps. As the power grid comes cleaner with more renewable energy, that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This strategy, often placed under the slogan ‘electrify everything,’ is a major plank in many proposals to fight the climate emergency. The report argues that total spending would also decline by switching to electrified transportation and heating, saving customers money.”

Next up is a story from PineTreeWatch.org, “6,000 Maine solar projects remain in limbo due to uncertainty over federal decision on net metering petition. The fate of net metering in New England — and across the United States — remains unknown, but resistance to its erasure is mounting. More than 450 organizations, 57,000 individuals and 37 states submitted comments opposing a petition that could set a national precedent and end a billing practice that credits users for investing in solar. Twenty-two organizations and individuals filed support for the proposal. The public comment window ended on June 15. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has not yet set a date to rule on the petition, which was filed by the New England Ratepayers Association in April…Maine Gov. Janet Mills was among those who spoke out against the petition, asking commissioners to ‘outright dismiss this petition.’ More than 6,000 ongoing projects in Maine rely on the benefits of net metering and the petition ‘would put at risk Maine’s existing renewable energy programs and the economic benefits enjoyed by thousands of citizens,’ Mills wrote in a letter to FERC. The Maine Public Utilities Commission and Maine Office of the Public Advocate also issued statements opposing the petition. ‘We’re not going away,’ said Barry Hobbins, Maine’s Public Advocate, whose job is to look out for the interests of public utility customers in Maine. ‘This could really undercut the solar industry.’”

For our new technology feature we look to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, “Energy storage at sea could enable full transition to renewable power. A new form of pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH) has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology in Germany. The project, entitled Storing Energy at Sea (StEnSea), uses concrete spheres anchored on the seafloor. To store energy, water is pumped out of the spheres, against the pressure of the surrounding seawater. When the energy is required, water is allowed to flow back into the spheres, driving turbines. No upper reservoir or transmission pipe is required since the surrounding seawater provides the necessary water pressure. When compared to conventional PSH, the need for land is eliminated and structures are minimised. It eliminates the danger of dam collapse and improves storage efficiency since evaporation from the upper reservoir does not reduce the energy stored. It is proposed that spheres with a diameter of 30m would be located at a depth of 700m, giving a nominal storage capacity of 27MWh. When the actual internal volume and operating efficiency of the system are taken into account, this configuration is expected to yield 18.3MWh storage capacity with a peak power output of 5MW.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

ACEEE highlights 10 building energy performance standards to help meet climate goals, Utility Dive

New York Power Authority, Signify upgrade 500K streetlights statewide, Utility Dive

FEATURE: Energy storage at sea could enable full transition to renewable power, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Bring-Your-Own-Batteries and EV Chargers: The Future of Distributed Energy Integration?, Greentech Media

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

New England Power Generators pushing for a carbon tax, Concord Monitor

Corporate carbon reduction targets get boost with new EEI, WRI utility emission rate tool, Utility Dive

Much of New York City’s generation needs to be displaced to reach state renewables target, agencies say, Utility Dive

US public opinion supports action on climate change — and has for years, Vox.com

Emissions reduction bill clears Senate committee, VT Digger

The Energy 202: House Democrats push aid for wind and solar in new infrastructure bill, Washington Post

Why Tackle Climate Change? To Save Craft Beer and Outdoor Sports, Greentech Media

 

Wind

Health board hopes to hold hearing ‘when feasible’ on wind turbines, Wicked Local Plymouth

Wind farm-related relocation of Connecticut fishermen stirs funding debate, Undercurrent News

New London and Connecticut Port Authority again at odds on funding, the Day

In New York, The Town Of Freedom Isn’t Free From Big Wind, Forbes.com

Trump administration wind and solar approvals lag Obama record: study, Reuters

Deep in the Heart of Texas, a Chinese Wind Farm Raises Eyebrows, Foreign Policy

 

Solar

6,000 Maine solar projects remain in limbo due to uncertainty over federal decision on net metering petition, Pine Tree Watch

Trapping the sun: New thin-film technology uses sustainable components for solar panels, Phys.org

GMP has app to let customers support small biz and nonprofits, Rutland Herald

BlackRock Leads $50M Investment Into Off-Grid Solar Technology That Generates Water, Greentech Media

Environmental Group Pursues Residential Solar Mandate in 10 States, Greentech Media

 

EVs

State Expanding Clean Car Rebates to Commercial Fleets, State House News Service (subscriber content)

Apple Maps gets electric vehicle routing to find EV chargers, Techcrunch

Ford aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, The Verge

 

Nuclear

Citizens’ Panel Reviews Pilgrim Nuclear Settlement, WCAI

Local leaders like Pilgrim deal but want more for Plymouth, Wicked Local Plymouth

Report: Company Decommissioning Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Under Criminal Investigation, WBUR

Truck hauling empty Vermont Yankee waste containers tips over, WCAX

Judge Orders Decommissioning Temporarily Halted at Former Nuclear Plant, (NJ) The Sandpaper

 

Gas

Report cites slow progress fixing gas leaks, Salem News

Columbia Gas Ordered To Pay $53M Fine For Merrimack Valley Explosions, WBUR

UPDATE: Federal judge formally sentences Columbia Gas for Merrimack Valley disaster, Eagle Tribune

LNG shipments by rail OK’d in US amid pipeline battles, Gloucester Times

PG&E First Major Utility to Support State Bans on Natural Gas, Bloomberg Law

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Feds OK $140 million fuel subsidy for New England power plants in winter, Concord Monitor

Black households pay more for energy than white households: analysis, The Hill

Norwich Public Utilities continues to see impacts of COVID-19 on customers, The Day

What is Transactive Energy and Why is it Important to Microgrids?, Microgrid Knowledge

CMP Transmission Line Faces New Legal Challenges, Including One Over Public Lands, Maine Public

Trump’s Grid Order Baffles Utilities Over What They Can Buy, Yahoo! Finance

 

Opinion

Op-Ed: Off-shore wind can still power Massachusetts, Boston Business Journal

Our view: South Jersey to get another piece of state’s offshore wind industry, Press of Atlantic City

MY VIEW: Storage of spent nuclear fuel a matter of public safety, Cape Cod Times

The truth about the future of gas: We don’t need to build anymore, Utility Dive

Hard truths about net metering and the perils of regulatory nihilism, Utility Dive

Rural New York pays price as NYC benefits, Times Union

Will New Jersey’s New Wind Port Be A Game Changer Or A Financial Boondoggle?, Forbes.com

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, hydro, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, nuclear, solar

Energy News for week ending June 19, 2020

6 months | Encouraged | Pyroelectric

Good afternoon.

We start this week’s recap with some grim news from The Guardian. “The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned. ‘This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,’ said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. Governments are planning to spend $9tn (£7.2tn) globally in the next few months on rescuing their economies from the coronavirus crisis, the IEA has calculated. The stimulus packages created this year will determine the shape of the global economy for the next three years, according to Birol, and within that time emissions must start to fall sharply and permanently, or climate targets will be out of reach. ‘The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,’ Birol told the Guardian. ‘If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages.’”

One of the ways to keep emissions down is to bring more renewable resources online. The State House News Service via the Cape Cod Times reported this week that Vineyard Wind got some encouraging news. “Vineyard Wind I, the project that has been eyed as the first utility-scale offshore wind development in the country, will be ready to move forward once a federal permit the developer hopes will be issued by December is in hand, the project’s chief executive said. Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said Thursday his company views the recent Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s supplement to the draft environmental impact statement for the 800-megawatt project as a positive step forward. ‘We read it in a way where we feel that BOEM is acknowledging that the impacts that we have, the changes that we have made, all in all makes it a project that should be moving forward, and that the mitigations we have put in place for various stakeholders are sufficient to counter the impacts that the project will have,’ he said. The bureau rocked the entire offshore wind industry in August with its plan to withhold the final environmental impact statement for Vineyard Wind I while it studied the wider impacts of a sector that is hoping to ramp up in Northeast and mid-Atlantic waters also used by the fishing sector. Last week, the agency issued its update and began a 45-day public comment period. A federal decision on a final permit for Vineyard Wind I is expected by Dec. 18. Before federal officials launched the broad review of wind projects, a decision on permit approval had been expected by Aug. 16, 2019. The 800-megawatt project is a joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables planned for waters 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.”

For our new energy technology feature this week we look to UConn. “UConn’s Associate Dean for Research and Industrial Partnerships, S. Pamir Alpay, and Yomery Espinal ’18 PhD (ENG) have published a paper on a novel portable pyroelectric technology in Cell Reports Physical Science with support from the Army Research Laboratory. Pyroelectric energy research is focused on how to generate energy from heat that would otherwise be wasted in a catalytic chemical reaction. When pyroelectric materials are heated, their polarization changes, leading to an electron flow that generates energy. These materials are commonly used in household devices like motion sensor lights, which detect body heat to determine when someone is near. Anytime there is a catalytic reaction, heat is generated. These devices harness that heat and use it as energy. For example, a combustion engine in a car produces heat that, with this kind of technology, could be used to power the electrical functions of the car that otherwise rely on battery power. The Army Research Lab (ARL) is particularly interested in this technology because it can provide more power with less weight, which is important for soldiers carrying heavy bags. While scientists have been experimenting with pyroelectric power for decades, the technology proposed in this paper is completely novel.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Eversource Providing Virtual Energy Efficiency Pre-Assessments To Customers, Patch.com

IEA calls for $3tn green recovery plan targeting energy efficiency and renewables, Engineering and Technology

Bill would pay home batteries for peak shaving and avoiding power-line buildout, Granite Geek

Homes Gain Momentum as ‘Grid Flexibility’ Resources, Microgrid Knowledge

Sunrun to Turn Home Batteries Into Grid Resources for 2 Major Utilities, Greentech Media

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Climate Change Is Killing Americans. Health Departments Aren’t Equipped To Respond, PublicIntegrity.org

Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most, New York Times

World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert, The Guardian

A War Against Climate Science, Waged by Washington’s Rank and File, New York Times

Temperature spike: Earth ties record high heat May reading, Politico

Carbon Capture Will Require Large Public Subsidies to Support Coal and Gas Power, Desmog Blog

New York Proposes Regional Greenhouse Gas Changes, National Law Review

Trump’s EPA balks at a chance to save black lives, Vox.com

The deep sea could hold the key to a renewable future. Is it worth the costs?, Grist.org

Cleantech incubator Greentown Labs expands to Houston, Utility Dive

Turning manure into money, Washington Post

Emissions Are Surging Back as Countries and States Reopen, New York Times

Clean energy groups to propose FERC rules for national transmission system saving $47B a year, Utility Dive

Theoharides: Transpo emission pact still priority, CommonWealth Magazine

Maine gets more than $2.5M from cap-and-trade program, Caledonian Record

State Environmental Officials Announce Student and School Recipients of ‘Green Team’ Awards, Lynn Journal

 

Wind

Vineyard Wind encouraged by federal signals, State House News via Cape Cod Times

New Jersey to Build Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Port, Greentech Media

As They Reach Retirement Age, Wind Farms Become Prime Investments, Bloomberg Green

FERC schedules technical conferences on carbon pricing, offshore wind integration challenges, Utility Dive

 

Solar

Solar net metering changes could harm US market, affect energy storage, S&P Global Platts

Boston organization stirs ire of solar advocates, CommonWealth Magazine

Utilities remain mute on FERC net metering petition, leave filing to face overwhelming opposition, Utility Dive

In a first, STAG launches solar projects in Mass., Boston Business Journal (subscriber content)

NARUC, NASEO team up to tackle distributed solar cyber risks as vulnerabilities grow, Utility Dive

 

EVs

Electric vehicles to set new market share record in 2020, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Lyft Pledges Shift to 100% Electric Vehicles by 2030, Greentech Media

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

With Air Permit Vacated, Senators Call For Construction To Stop On Weymouth Compressor, WBUR

New York activists target National Grid gas project after Williams shelves pipeline, S&P Global Platts

Gas disaster settlement fees in question, Eagle Tribune

Natural Gas Heads for Record Drop in Global Demand, Bloomberg

Effort to keep state’s largest power plant open fuels concern about climate, public health, Boston Globe

The Gas Industry Is Paying Instagram Influencers to Gush Over Gas Stoves, Mother Jones

 

Nuclear

Holtec and state agree on safety and financial terms for decommissioning Pilgrim nuclear plant, Boston Globe

Settlement sets guardrails for Plymouth nuclear plant decommissioning, South Coast Today

Trump policy change could be game changer for small nuclear reactors, Washington Examiner

Bills for Jobs, Local Funding at Indian Point Approved, The Examiner

Global annual installed capacity of nuclear power to decline to 3GW due to Covid-19, Power Technology

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Before the U.S. Can Have Clean Power, It Needs More Power Lines, Bloomberg News via Financial Post

Rising energy loads from fewer COVID-19 limits, warming weather spark utility readiness concerns, Utility Dive

Smart Energy Grids Become More Compelling, IoT World Today

What the Coming Wave of Distributed Energy Resources Means for the US Grid, Greentech Media

Divided FERC approves New England ISO short-term fuel security plan despite cost concerns, Utility Dive

Novel Waste-to-Energy Microgrid Aims to Provide Resilience in Camden, New Jersey, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Opinion

Our view: Huge potential for offshore energy, Salem News

New transmission infrastructure needed for offshore wind, CommonWealth Magazine

It’s time for a green stimulus: Here’s how a small Vermont utility can show the way, Utility Dive

This is not the way to move beyond net metering, Utility Dive

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

Energy News for week ending June 12, 2020

Focus on Mystic | The Oceans Have It | $11B in Savings

Happy Friday afternoon.

There were a cluster of letters and stories this week that focused on and/or mentioned the Mystic Generating Station in Everett, MA.

Another interesting trend this week was stories about ocean-related climate and renewable energy possibilities.

Lastly, here is some good news about what we all know about energy efficiency, DOE’s Better Buildings initiative notches $11B in savings across 10 years, Utility Dive

That’s this week’s quick recap. Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

New Jersey sets ‘top tier’ energy efficiency goal, targets more than 2% electricity savings, Utility Dive

So, What Exactly Is Building Electrification?, Greentech Media

New York Grid Operator Prepares for DERs & Storage as Part of Sweeping Change, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

90% Clean Grid by 2035 Is Not Just Feasible, But Cheaper, Study Says, Greentech Media

NYSERDA moves to launch program targeting brownfields and other less desirable sites for renewables, Utility Dive

Clues to the impact of climate change may seep from a volcano in Costa Rica, Washington Post

A Drop in Sulfate Emissions During the Coronavirus Lockdown Could Intensify Arctic Heatwaves, Inside Climate News

‘Surprisingly rapid’ rebound in carbon emissions post-lockdown, The Guardian

Renewables may lag through 2030: What it means for CO2, E&E News (subscriber content)

Renewable Energy Advocates Want Job Training Focus in COVID-19 Recovery, NHPR

 

Wind

Feds release Vineyard Wind environmental assessment, CommonWealth Magazine

New York’s Energy Transition (and Challenges) in 5 Charts, Greentech Media

Feds see 2,000 East Coast turbines over 10 years, State House News Service via Newburyport Daily News

 

Solar

Rules cast shadow over some solar power projects, State House News Service via WWLP

Foes of Rhode Island solar project lose legal battle, NewportRI.com

Coronavirus Won’t Stop US Solar Growth in 2020, But Rooftop Installers Take Serious Hit, Greentech Media

New York’s Energy Transition (and Challenges) in 5 Charts, Greentech Media

Utility-scale solar to soar in 2020, despite COVID, while coal decline accelerates, SEIA, EIA project, Utility Dive

 

EVs

EV supply chain could see years of shortages — report, E&E News (subscriber content)

Investors Bullish on EV Charging Despite Slowdown in Car Sales, Greentech Media

Tesla says air quality jumps from coronavirus lockdowns make case for electric vehicles, Axios.com

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Sentencing of utility behind 2018 Mass. gas explosions delayed over probation issue, Reuters

Trump’s New Clean Water Act Rules Could Affect Embattled Natural Gas Projects on Both Coasts, Inside Climate News

 

Nuclear

Officials Investigating Another Unplanned Shutdown ‘Scram’ At Seabrook Nuclear Plant, NHPR

Nuclear Fusion Technology Being Developed For Electric Vehicles, Autoversed.com

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

AARP contests Eversource’s proposed rate hike, citing pandemic, Keene Sentinel

NYISO market monitor recommends dynamic reserve procurement, S&P Global

State Of The New York City Grid, Urban Green Council

New York’s economy is slowly reopening, but electricity demand remains clipped due to COVID-19, Utility Dive

Public Policy Challenges Top NYISO Grid Plans, RTO Insider (subscriber content)

Using Microbial Nanowires for Electricity Generation, AzoNano.com

 

Opinion

Putting land for solar off-limits could hurt farmers, CommonWealth Magazine

CMP corridor project will create new wildfire dangers in remote Maine, Bangor Daily News

Racism, Police Violence, and the Climate Are Not Separate Issues, New Yorker

Massachusetts’ Clean Peak Standard — A trailblazer in the nation’s clean energy transition, Utility Dive

Union issues strike authorization for New York Con Edison workers, Reuters

Letter: Paying too much for power doesn’t help environment, Union Leader

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

Energy News for week ending June 5, 2020

Natural Gas Be Gone | Compressor Ups and Downs | Efficiency: Cheaper Than Gas

Happy Friday afternoon.

Well, it’s not been a very good week for natural gas, especially in Massachusetts.

We start with an article from CommonWealth Magazine, “Healey calls for orderly transition away from natural gas. Attorney General Maura Healey petitioned the Department of Public Utilities on Thursday to investigate how the state’s natural gas utilities should transition to a future where the fuel they are selling no longer fits in with the state’s carbon emission goals. Massachusetts has set a goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050, and Healey argues the state, natural gas utilities, and their customers need to start planning…Healey recommended the investigation be conducted in two phases – one phase focusing on utility forecasts about their role in a decarbonized economy and the second on the policies needed to reach the state’s emission mandates. Her petition raises a host of questions that need to be answered, including whether renewable natural gas (gas made from cow manure, for example) has potential. The attorney general’s petition comes at a time when environmental advocates are pressing for a reduction in natural gas usage even as industry officials say the fuel is cheap, plentiful, and gaining market share.”

Note – the State House News reported today that “The first step for the Department of Public Utilities, an official said, is to review Attorney General Maura Healey’s filing to determine whether the request is within the jurisdiction of the DPU. If the department determines that it is, then it will decide whether it would be appropriate to launch the investigation and what its scope would be.” (subscriber content)

We stay in Massachusetts for our next two stories, both about the natural gas compressor station in Weymouth. On Wednesday, the State House News Service via Wicked Local Weymouth wrote, “Air permit for Weymouth gas project overturned. A federal appeals court vacated an air permit Massachusetts regulators awarded to a controversial natural gas project, ruling Wednesday that the state did not sufficiently assess emissions-reducing technology set to be used. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit scrapped the air permit for Enbridge’s under-construction natural gas compressor station in Weymouth and ordered the state Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a new analysis of what would be the best available control technology to limit air pollution. In a lengthy decision Wednesday, Judge William Kayatta said the permit cannot stand because the DEP did not follow its own procedures when it approved a turbine rather than an electric motor to cut emissions.”

The next day however, the State House New Reported, via WGBH that, “Celebration May Be Premature For Gas Project Opponents. A celebratory car parade is planned for Saturday, but even the opponents of a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth say a new court ruling in their favor will not stop project construction. ‘Although Enbridge may continue constructing, they cannot operate this facility without the air quality permit,’ Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station wrote in an email to its supporters Thursday morning. ‘And, it gives us more room to fight to stop it from ever operating…’ Kayatta’s decision also includes components that are favorable to Enbridge and the Department of Environmental Protection.”

The last highlight for this week comes from Utility Dive, “Efficiency significantly cheaper than natural gas, DOE study concludes. Natural gas energy efficiency programs run by utilities saved energy at a cost of about $0.40/therm from 2012 to 2017 — less than half of the national average retail price of gas during that period, according to new research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Gas cost about $1/therm during those years, according to researchers, and U.S. households and businesses spent approximately $65 billion on utility-supplied natural gas in 2018. In that same year, utilities spent more than $1.4 billion on gas efficiency programs, according to the American Gas Association (AGA) which represents gas delivery companies. Efficiency advocates say there are even more savings to be had through the electrification of end-uses — something the study did not consider. They say the gas industry may be building unnecessary infrastructure. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, around 90% of proposed gas power plants and their pipelines are likely to be unnecessary by 2035.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Healey asks DPU to lead on clean energy transition, WWLP

Healey calls for orderly transition away from natural gas, CommonWealth Magazine

Celebration May Be Premature For Gas Project Opponents, WGBH

Air permit for Weymouth gas project overturned, Wicked Local Weymouth

E.P.A. Limits States’ Power to Oppose Pipelines and Other Energy Projects, New York Times

Investment in U.S. Shale Projects to Halve in 2020, IEA Says, Wall St. Journal

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

This is how the oceans can be used to help fight climate change, World Economic Forum

Earth’s carbon dioxide levels hit record high, despite coronavirus-related emissions drop, Washington Post

Responding to protests, green groups reckon with a racist past, Grist.org

Why we can’t count on carbon-sucking farms to slow climate change, MIT Review

Hydrogen as Fuel? An Italian Pasta Factory Shows How It Could Work, New York Times

IRS clarifies carbon capture tax credit, but more policies needed to drive deployment, analysts say, Utility Dive

Renewable Energy Overtakes Coal, Still Lags Far Behind Oil And Natural Gas, Forbes.com

Economic Giants Are Restarting. Here’s What It Means for Climate Change., New York Times

Massachusetts hopes ‘localized approach’ to GHG inventory can spread, Utility Dive

Solar, Wind, Storage Link Arms in Push for “Majority Renewables” by 2030, Greentech Media

Summers are growing longer due to climate change, while winters are dramatically shrinking, Washington Post

World’s First Integrated Hydrogen Power-to-Power Demonstration Launched, Power Magazine

 

Wind

Wind Power: Wakefield Company Vying to Replace Mystic Generation Station with Wind Power ‘Highway,’ Everett Independent

What Offshore Wind Can Bring to the Corporate PPA Party, Greentech media

The Future Of Wind Energy, Oilprice.com

MassCEC Contributes to Greentown Labs Offshore Wind Challenge, NA Windpower

State’s largest wind farm to date is approved, Times Union (NY)

 

Solar

National Grid Releases Latest Results on Massachusetts Distributed Solar ‘Cluster’ Study, Greentech Media

As utility solar costs drop 82%, US renewable leaders target majority generation share by 2030, Utility Dive

Edison Electric Institute Declines to Support Petition Seeking Federal Overturn of Net Metering, Greentech Media

Utilities stay silent on proposal to federalize net metering as states call it a ‘threat’ to solar policy, Utility Dive

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Efficiency significantly cheaper than natural gas, DOE study concludes, Utility Dive

Energy-efficiency industry group presses for tax credits, RollCall.com

 

EVs

EV charging gets small slice in Democrats’ $494B transport infrastructure bill, Utility Dive

Utilities Need to Play Bigger Role in Electrifying Transportation Sector, Industry Officials Say, NJ Spotlight

 

Nuclear

Seabrook Nuclear Plant Gets Back Online Safely After Unexpected Shutdown, NHPR

Federal Inspections Set To Ramp Up At Seabrook Nuclear Plant As Economy Reopens, NHPR

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CT electric, gas companies offer payment plan to relieve pandemic debt, New Haven Register

FERC, states see transmission projects fueling recovery, E&E News

Overcoming Forecast Uncertainties for Better DER Planning, Greentech Media

New York Revises Demand Response in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic, Microgrid Knowledge

State regulators reject CMP plan for $500,000 virus relief fund for customers, Press Herald

New York region has plenty of capacity to handle summer energy load, Daily Energy Insider

 

Opinion

Indian Point Closure Making Guinea Pigs Out of All New Yorkers, Natural Gas Now

Letter: Urge lawmakers to support net metering bill, Concord Monitor

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

Energy News for week ending May 29, 2020

Chafing | Higher bills | Empire State Building

 

Happy Friday afternoon.

It’s been a very busy week so my apologies, but I don’t have time for a full recap.

Here are a few stories though that caught our attention:

 

Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Global Glut Keeps a Lid on Natural-Gas Prices, Wall St. Journal

EPA backtracks on fish-protecting requirements in long-delayed Merrimack coal plant permit, Utility Dive

Coal’s Decline Continues with 13 Plant Closures Announced in 2020, E&E News via Scientific American

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

U.S. Consumed More Renewables Than Coal for First Time in 134 Years, Wall St. Journal

Cuomo calls for Canada-to-New York City power line to deliver clean energy, Financial Post

Green group proposes nearly $6T infrastructure and clean energy stimulus plan, The Hill

 

Wind

Coast Guard favors turbine corridors sought by energy developers, Herald News

US May Host First Factory for Siemens Gamesa’s 14MW Offshore Turbine, Greentech Media

Treasury Department offers wind industry coronavirus lifeline with safe harbor extension, Utility Dive

Ohio OKs North America’s first freshwater offshore wind farm — with a huge caveat, Electrek

 

Solar

Massachusetts’ Solar Industry Chafes at New Land-Use Restrictions, Greentech Media

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, Greentech media

24 Congressional Democrats urge FERC to reject net metering overhaul, Utility Dive

As Commercial Solar Takes a Hit From COVID-19, Virtual PPAs Continue Their Rise, Greentech Media

US solar developers get reprieve on bifacial panel prices as judge rejects USTR move on tariffs, Utility Dive

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Energy efficiency helped the Empire State Building save money and cut carbon. It can help you, too., Washington Post

Green Mountain Power expands BYOD and Tesla battery programs as it targets fossil peakers, Utility Dive

Landfills emerge as promising battery storage sites to back up renewable energy, Utility Dive

After Bold Promise, New Jersey’s Energy Storage Plan Remains a Mystery, Greentech Media

 

EVs

Powering EVs is cheaper than diesel, gas in the largest US cities — Atlanta and Boston are exceptions, Utility Dive

Retail co-location may prove key to sustainable funding for EV charging, panel finds, Utility Dive

Largest all-electric aircraft to make maiden flight, CNN.com

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Pandemic pulls NY power prices down further from already-low 2019 levels, S&P Global

Lockdowns are pushing up home electric bills, and air conditioning season is hardly here yet, Boston Globe

Data Tool Shows Pandemic’s Impact on Power Prices, Power Magazine

Energy sector confident about pandemic operations, WWLP

No Resiliency Strategy? You’re Taking a Big Risk, Report Warns Utilities, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Opinion

Don’t knock natural gas, CommonWealth Magazine

Energy won’t be the same when this is over, Washington Post

COVID-19’s lessons for climate change, CommonWealth Magazine

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

Energy News for week ending May 22, 2020

Big deal | Curtailed | Zinc-air

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start with a piece from the Granite Geek. “Rooftop solar is becoming a big deal in New England. One sunny afternoon earlier this month, reports ISO-New England, the six-state region had roughly 3,200 MW of “behind the meter” solar – the rooftop stuff, as compared to stand-alone solar farms that feed straight to the grid. This was a record, says the folks who run our power system, although it’s a record that will be falling frequently in coming years, since they expect many thousands more megawatts of solar to be added. How much is 3,200 megawatts? It’s almost three times the output of Seabrook Station nuclear power plant, so we’re talking serious output…”

For this next story we move from solar to wind. From S&P Global Platts, “Portion of New England offshore wind could be curtailed by 2030: ISO. ISO New England analysis made public Wednesday estimated about 10% of the total 2030 offshore wind power portfolio connected into southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island would be “spilled,” or curtailed, under certain assumptions due to transmission constraints and a glut of supply. Transmission developer Anbaric requested ISO-NE perform a study reviewing the impact on energy market prices, air emissions and regional fuel security of three offshore wind power scenarios for target year 2030: 8,000 MW, 10,000 MW and 12,000 MW. An ISO-NE presentation during an earlier Planning Committee meeting discussed the Anbaric economic study for scenarios with 8,000 MW to 12,000 MW of offshore wind additions in southern New England. The addition of 8,000 MW to 12,000 MW of offshore wind plus assumed resource retirements of nearly 4,500 MW result in southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island (SEMA/RI) export interface transmission congestion, according to the presentation. Other key points include a finding that connecting more offshore wind close to load centers outside of southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island, especially the Mystic and Millstone substations, would reduce the congestion hours of the southeast Massachusetts/Rhode Island export interface.”

Our new tech feature this week comes from Recharge. “New zinc-air battery is ‘cheaper, safer and far longer-lasting than lithium-ion.’ A new type of battery is coming onto the market that can store multiple days’ worth of energy, that doesn’t degrade, can’t possibly explode and is up to five times cheaper than lithium-ion, claimed its developer as it prepares to pilot the technology in New York state. The zinc-air hybrid flow battery developed by Canadian company Zinc8 has the potential to disrupt the entire energy-storage market — making wind and solar farms baseload and even replacing the need for transmission grid upgrades in many places…Zinc-air can beat lithium-ion batteries on price because the latter can generally only hold about four hours’ worth of energy at any one time, so an eight-hour storage system would require two batteries. By contrast, the storage capacity of the Zinc8 system can just be made bigger by increasing the size of the storage tank and the volume of the electrolyte it contains. The capital cost of an eight-hour Zinc8 storage is about $250/kWh, falling to $100/kWh for a 32-hour system and $60/kWh for 100 hours. By contrast, lithium-ion projects cost about $300/kWh for any duration over eight hours.

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives in service to our country.

And as always, stay safe.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Tree Deaths in Urban Settings Are Linked to Leaks from Natural Gas Pipelines Below Streets, Inside Climate News

Cuomo administration cites new climate law in denying controversial New York, New Jersey pipeline, Politico NY

Devastated By Coronavirus, New York’s Pipeline Politics Ensure A Tougher Second Round, Forbes.com

First gas disaster settlement checks going out Friday, Eagle Tribune

Answers Sought Regarding Explosion and Pipeline Construction in Burrillville, EcoRI

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

‘Devil is in the details.’ The fight for grid carbon pricing, E&E News

Majority of Mainers support bold energy, transportation policies to address climate change, MaineBeacon.com

Wind and Solar Profits: The Race Between Falling Costs and Declining Revenue, Greentech Media

Traffic Is Way Down, Due To Lockdowns, But Air Pollution? Not So Much, WGBH

Trump admin slaps solar, wind operators with retroactive rent bills, Reuters

Vatican ties virus rethink to pope’s environmental appeal, AP News

The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows, Washington Post

Americans See Climate as a Concern, Even Amid Coronavirus Crisis, New York Times

Global emissions plunged an unprecedented 17 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Post

Global green energy growth to fall for first time in 20 years: IEA, Reuters

Why some spots on the planet are heating up faster than others, Washington Post

Group Says It Will Launch World’s Largest Green Hydrogen Project, Power Magazine

With CT’s trash future in flux, food-waste recycler hopes for bigger role, Hartford Business Journal

More US Power Generated This Year Expected To Come From Renewables Than From Coal, WGBH

 

Wind

Connecticut Utilities Move Forward with Park City Wind PPAs, Offshorewind.biz

Brattle Study Highlights Benefits of Offshore Grid, RTO Insider

Siemens Gamesa Launches 14MW Offshore Wind Turbine, World’s Largest

Four New Studies to Examine Fisheries, Offshore Wind, South Coast Today

Portion of New England offshore wind could be curtailed by 2030: ISO, S&P Global

 

Solar

Rooftop solar is becoming a big deal in New England, Granite Geek

5 Wind Energy Giants Embracing Solar Power, Greentech Media

Utility regulator denies controversial Bennington solar project, VT Digger

Why is cloudy Syracuse suddenly a solar farm magnet?, Syracuse.com

Coronavirus Wipes Out 5 Years of US Solar Job Growth, Greentech Media

COVID-19 Impacts on the U.S. Solar Industry, SEIA

Why (and How) the Solar Finance Market Is Changing in This Crisis, Greentech Media

National Solar Tour Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You, NA Clean Energy

Proposed solar farm in Gorham up for review June 1, Press Herald

DEEP rejects Candlewood Solar permit in New Milford, News Times

Melrose church installs community solar project, Wicked Local Melrose

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Can Free Smart Thermostats Get Homeowners to Enroll in Summertime Demand Response,? Greentech Media

New zinc-air battery is ‘cheaper, safer and far longer-lasting than lithium-ion,’ Recharge

Con Edison commits $1.5 billion to energy efficiency, Utility Dive

 

EVs

As Covid-19 Hits Electric Vehicles, Some Thrive, Others Die, Bloomberg

HEVO to Launch US Manufacturing for Wireless Electric Vehicle Charger, Greentech Media

 

Nuclear

Tonopah quake bolsters Nevada’s case against Yucca dumpsite, LasVegas Sun

Brick by brick: Finding families of loved ones who worked at Pilgrim Station, Patriot Ledger

America Just Made a Huge Investment in Next-Gen Nuclear Power, Popular Mechanics

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

The Drive to Replace Summer-Only ‘Peaker’ Power Plants, Wired

Mainers get more time to pay bills, utilities get pinched as virus reduces demand, WGME

ISO-New England: 2019 transmission-outage coordination stats and goals, Electric Energy Online

‘Terrified’ energy workers press feds for safety standard, E&E News

New York grants flexibility, works to limit ‘bad actors’ in demand response programs hit by COVID-19, Utility Dive

Unpaid utility bills, lower usage threaten to push rates higher in Maine, Press Herald

LIPA officials planning to retire at least 1 power generating unit, Newsday

Mass. Hydropower Project Stymied By Maine Ballot Question Dispute, WBUR

 

Opinion

Eastie needs straight answers from Eversource, CommonWealth Magazine

We need to start using less natural gas, CommonWealth Magazine

Gov. Phil Murphy needs to unplug NJ Transit’s power plant | Opinion, northjersey.com

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce: NECEC offers some hope for Maine’s economy, Central Maine.com

Rhode Island Can’t Delay Efforts to Decarbonize Its Economy, EcoRI

INSIGHT: Will AI Increase or Decrease Power Grid Efficiency,? Bloomberg Law

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

Energy News for week ending May 15, 2020

Planned Approach | Green Grant Rejected | Secret Space Plane

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start with an offshore wind story brought to us by the State House News Service via the Boston Business Journal. “Report sees benefits in offshore energy transmission hub. If Massachusetts and other New England states continue to develop offshore wind projects that each have their own cables connecting the offshore arrays to the onshore power grid, transmission costs will be higher, there will be more marine life disturbance and greater environmental impacts, and the existing grid could need significant upgrades sooner, a Brattle Group report found. The report, which was conducted on behalf of a Wakefield-based company that focuses exclusively on transmission, recommends that Massachusetts and surrounding states adopt a planned transmission approach to offshore wind, in which existing wind lease areas would connect to one common transmission network and then deliver power to southern New England…Using a planned transmission approach rather than individual generator lead lines from each offshore project would lead to a 10 percent reduction in overall transmission costs, 49 percent less undersea cable, 40 percent less energy lost in transmission and optimized utilization of each of the limited locations at which offshore wind power can be brought onto shore, the Brattle Group said Thursday morning as it presented its findings alongside Anbaric, the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance and Eric Hines of Tufts University.”

We missed this story last week, but the interesting dynamics in it made it worth sharing this week. From the Daily Hampshire Gazette, “Holyoke City Council turns down $275K grant for green energy planning. After nearly an hour of heated debate Tuesday evening, six members of the City Council voted to reject a $275,000 grant to help Holyoke transition away from fossil fuels. The Barr Foundation announced in December that the city would be a recipient of the grant, which would have paid for project management and technical consulting for developing a plan to transition the city’s buildings and energy grid to renewable energy. But the City Council voted 7-6 on the grant, denying the body the nine votes it needed. “I believe that this grant is an attempt to basically introduce a political agenda — the politics of the Green New Deal — into Holyoke,” At-Large Councilor Howard Greaney said during the meeting…The grant had previously been the subject of disagreement over the role that the grassroots organization Neighbor to Neighbor would play in the project. Neighbor to Neighbor, which organizes against environmental and racial injustice, was set to receive their own separate, $125,000 grant to do outreach to city residents…Much of the controversy revolved around a protest that Neighbor to Neighbor held in October 2018 at the Suffolk Street headquarters of Holyoke Gas & Electric, or HG&E — the city’s municipal utility. HG&E also was slated to be a partner in the grant project. For some councilors, though, the protest was too much. In February, the Council’s Finance Committee had already recommended, by a 3-2 vote, to reject the grant. But the full City Council sent the grant back to the Finance Committee, asking the city’s director of planning and economic development, Marcos Marrero, to contact the Barr Foundation about the possibility of removing mention of Neighbor to Neighbor from the grant. The Barr Foundation ultimately said it would not amend the contract, and asked the council to vote the grant up or down… Bartley expressed opposition to Neighbor to Neighbor’s role in the project. He added that the outcome of the Barr Foundation project is to reduce fossil fuel consumption to as close to zero as possible. ‘That’s the goal,’ Bartley said. ‘So the ‘G’ in the ‘Gas and Electric’ might as well go away. I just can’t in good conscience support this grant.’”

For our technology feature of the week, we bring you this story from Wired, “A Secret Space Plane is Carrying a Solar Experiment to Orbit. On Saturday, the US Air Force is expected to launch its secret space plane, X-37B, for a long-duration mission in low Earth orbit. The robotic orbiter looks like a smaller version of the space shuttle and has spent nearly eight of the past 10 years in space conducting classified experiments for the military. Almost nothing is known about what X-37B does up there, but ahead of its sixth launch the Air Force gave some rare details about its cargo. In addition to its usual suite of secret military tech, the X-37B will also host a few unclassified experiments during its upcoming sojourn in space…But the real star of the show is a small solar panel developed by the physicists at the Naval Research Lab that will be used to conduct the first orbital experiment with space-based solar power. ‘This is a major step forward,’ says Paul Jaffe, an electronics engineer at the Naval Research Lab and lead researcher on the project. ‘This is the first time that any component geared towards a solar-powered satellite system has ever been tested in orbit.’ Space-based solar power is all about getting solar power to Earth no matter the weather or the time of day. The basic idea is to convert the sun’s energy into microwaves and beam it down. Unlike terrestrial solar panels, satellites in a sufficiently high orbit might only experience darkness for a few minutes per day. If this energy could be captured, it could provide an inexhaustible source of power no matter where you are on the planet.”

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Ashland consultant says Eversource pipeline project is unnecessary, MetroWest Daily News

Does New York need a new natural gas pipeline? It’s about to decide., Grist

Weymouth compressor station moves toward completion, Patriot Ledger

US fossil fuel giants set for a coronavirus bailout bonanza, The Guardian

Gas stoves can generate unsafe levels of indoor air pollution, Vox.com

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Mass. emission strategies all up in air, CommonWealth Magazine

In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S., New York Times

Clean energy has shed nearly 600,000 U.S. jobs due to pandemic: report, Reuters

Replace NYC peakers with renewables+storage? Plant owners say they’re working on it, Utility Dive

Clean energy, rate relief on collision course, Politico

Holyoke City Council turns down $275K grant for green energy planning, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Judge Dismisses Another Green Development Lawsuit, EcoRI

Climate models got hotter. Why they might be overshooting, E&E News

April 2020 was Earth’s second hottest April on record, NOAA

Smog-Causing Pollutant Way Down In Mass. — For Now, WBUR

US Emissions May See Record Decline in 2020, Study Says, Greentech Media

 

Wind

Report sees benefits in offshore energy transmission hub, State House News via Boston Business Journal (Paywall)

Treasury Department offers wind industry coronavirus lifeline with proposed safe harbor extension, Utility Dive

Climbing Wind Turbines for a Living | That’s Amazing, greatbigstory.com

US wind sector delivers ‘strong first quarter’ despite coronavirus crisis, Energy Live News

Eversource pushes back startup date for NY offshore wind farm, SandP Global

 

Solar

A Secret Space Plane is Carrying a Solar Experiment to Orbit, Wired

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Cold storage: Organic proton batteries show disposal, solar pairing advantages in advance to market, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

Consultant says NorthStar’s spending on track, Brattleboro Reformer

NRC commissioner blasts proposed emergency preparedness rules for SMRs as a ‘radical departure,’ Utility Dive

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CMP gets a key state approval for its hydropower corridor, Bangor Daily News

New England takes key step to 1.2 GW of Quebec hydro as Maine approves transmission line, Utility Dive

Ditching PJM capacity market could cost New Jersey $386M through 2022, market monitor finds, Utility Dive

NYISO stands by renewable exemption limit proposal, urges swift FERC action, S&P Global

CT regulators toughen rules on energy suppliers, Greenwich Time

CMP parent sues state in effort to halt proposed anti-corridor referendum, Bangor Daily News

House coronavirus bill aims to prevent utility shutoffs, The Hill

 

Editorial/Opinion

CT regulators toughen rules on energy suppliers, Greenwich Time

Stop Equating Coronavirus with Climate Action, Next City

NJ’s energy master plan is a winner, Energy Central

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

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

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