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

Energy News for week ending May 1, 2020

Texas | Cheapest in the Word | Supercapacitor | Betty and Nike

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start with a blog post from David Byrne of the Talking Heads. Seriously. He has a blog named Reasons to Be Cheerful (which makes me think more of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, but this is not a music newsletter). It is a long and thoughtful piece, and definitely worth a read. From the post, “Can’t We all be Like Texas? Last week, oil prices went negative. There is nowhere to store the oil being pumped out of the ground because demand, due to the coronavirus, has collapsed. There is less flying, less driving and fewer factories operating. So oil producers and their financial backers have been paying folks to take their oil. There are jokes going around that if you had a big storage tank in your basement, you could get paid to take some oil and sell it at a huge profit when, and if, the price goes up again. West Texas is oil country. But there is something else going on in West Texas: it is a world capital of wind energy. Last year, Texas got more of its energy from wind — 23.4 percent — than any other U.S. state. In fact, if Texas were a country (which some might argue it is) it would rank fifth in the world in wind power generation, just behind Germany and India. Wind in oil country may seem like a contradiction, but to Texans it makes perfect sense…All this focus on wind may seem surprising — we all know West Texas is oil country, and that the entire state often leans to the right politically. What’s encouraging is that, in this respect, Texans are behaving like conservatives are supposed to: they are ignoring ideological and partisan dogma and instead doing what makes economic sense. Wind has been forecast to be cheaper than oil in the long run — once the transmission lines and windmills are up, the costs, in theory, drop way down.”

To provide a proof point for Byrne’s economic benefit statement there is this from Bloomberg, Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World.

For our new technology feature this week, we bring you a couple of solar stories and one for storage. Engineers make a promising material stable enough for use in solar cells, Purdue and Are Solar Windows The Next Big Renewable Breakthrough?, Oilprice.com

And from Popular Mechanics, “How to Turn Coal, Tar, and Pitch Into Useful Stuff—with Lasers! From petroleum trash to treasure. In a future where we no longer process and burn up our heavy hydrocarbons like coal, tar, and pitch, could they have new life as sophisticated manufactured goods? Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have published a new paper in Science Advances describing case studies for new ways to use these complex chemicals. ‘In a sense, what the team did is the inverse of traditional processing of fossil fuels, in which the complex mix of hydrocarbons undergoes stage after stage of breaking down chemical bonds and separating out different compounds,’ MIT said in a statement. ‘In this work, the various kinds of heavy hydrocarbon complexes were used just as they are, making use of the wide variety of properties to be found in the different materials.’…Using this technique, the team applied different materials to make ‘a supercapacitor to store electricity, a flexible strain gauge, and a transparent heater.’”

As for Betty and Nike. These stories have nothing to do with energy. But I’m sharing them because: A. I like cats and the weather. B. I like dogs and the Patriots (but not necessarily in that order or together). And C. Who can’t use some good and funny animal stories these days? These two became stars because of WFH. Enjoy!

How ‘Betty the Weathercat’ became a star on TV news in Indiana, Washington Post

Please! Let Bill Belichick’s Dog Coach the Patriots, Wall St. Journal

Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

The coal industry was already struggling. Now it’s getting hammered by coronavirus, NPR State Impact

Critics of LNG Plan Say Army Corps Failed to Assess Impacts Before Issuing Permit, NJ Spotlight

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

A Satellite Lets Scientists See Antarctica’s Melting Like Never Before, New York Times

Government probe finds companies claiming carbon capture tax credit didn’t follow EPA requirements, The Hill

Renewables Giants May Get Even Bigger as Crisis Tightens Finance Markets, Greentech Media

How Concern Over Climate Change Correlates With Coronavirus Responses, Morning Consult

Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World, Bloomberg

Emissions Declines Will Set Records This Year. But It’s Not Good News., New York Times

Clean Energy Center’s financial woes continue to mount, CommonWealth Magazine

Shell and BP Slash Spending but Renewables Largely Spared, Greentech Media

Billions in Clean Energy Loans Go Unused as Coronavirus Ravages Economy, New York Times

The Biomass Fiasco, Counterpunch.org

 

Wind

Mayflower Wind airs offshore plans, MV Times

5 Orsted US Offshore Wind Projects Face Possible Delay Due to COVID-19, Permitting Challenges, Greentech Media

Offshore Wind Finding Direction in U.S., Power Magazine

Ipswich still waiting for answers on complicated process to remove broken wind turbine, localne.ws

Struggling Distributed Wind Sector Eyes Role in Microgrids Market, Greentech Media

Can We All Be Like Texas?, Reasons to be Cheerful

Avangrid Withdraws Guidance due to Coronavirus, Vineyard Wind Uncertainty, Greentech Media

Judge strikes plan to put wind turbines on Bethlehem Authority land, The Morning Call

US wind industry weathers COVID-19 to deliver 1,800 more megawatts in first quarter, Daily Energy Insider

 

Solar

AG sues solar array developer over environmental damage in Williamsburg, Daily Hampshire Gazette

More Money for Brownfield Solar Offered, But Better Land Protection Needed, EcoRI

Engineers make a promising material stable enough for use in solar cells, Purdue

How Northeast state solar programs are reacting to COVID-19, Solar Power World

Standard Solar’s Wallingford, Vermont, 3.2 MW Brownfield Solar Project for Renewable Energy Program Complete, Electric Energy Online

After the Coronavirus pandemic, expect solar energy to change farming for the better, redgreenandblue.org

Torrington’s O&G debuts 1.3 megawatt solar array at Southbury quarry, Litchfield County Times

So, What Exactly Is Community Solar,? Greentech Media

Are Solar Windows The Next Big Renewable Breakthrough?, Oilprice.com

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Mass. energy efficiency program goes virtual to help with rise in home electricity use, Boston 25 News

New Incentives Help University Save Energy, Money, UMassLowell

New York expedites energy efficiency vendor payments to bolster industry rattled by COVID-19, Utility Dive

Reading Municipal Light Department offering lawn equipment rebates, Wicked Local

How to Turn Coal, Tar, and Pitch Into Useful Stuff—with Lasers!, Popular Mechanics

Size Matters: Energy Storage Scales Up To Beat Down Fossil Fuels, CleanTechnica

 

EVs

Electric vehicle roadmap released for CT, Middletown News

Could Hydrogen Fuel Cells Revive, Threaten Battery Technology In Cars,? Forbes.com

 

Nuclear

30 Years Later, This Big Boy Fusion Reactor Is Almost Ready to Turn On, Scientific American

Accelerating reactor decommissioning, Nuclear Engineering International

Curtain lowers on nuke plant a stone’s throw from Manhattan, AP News

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CMP corridor proponents appeal decision to allow anti-powerline ballot question, Bangor Daily News

Residential electricity use increasing amid pandemic, Western Mass News

GE, Siemens, Utilities Take Hits From Coronavirus, Power Magazine

5 Key Threats for US Utilities as Earnings Season Kicks Off, Greentech Media

Maine PUC examining the impacts of COVID-19 on customers, utilities, Daily Energy Insider

 

Editorial/Opinion

Letter: Nuclear power must compete in the deregulated market, Telegram.com

The pandemic’s impact on our electric grid and those who maintain it, Hartford Courant

Letter to the Editor: Not a good deal, Daily Bull Dog

Post-COVID-19: A positive outlook for the commercial solar industry, Utility Dive

States Standing Strong on Clean Energy Commitments Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Greentech Media

Michael Moore’s green energy takedown—worse than Netflix’s Goop series,? Ars-Technica

Opinion: A No-Cost Way to Save US Clean Energy Jobs During the Crisis, Greentech Media

Op-Ed: Batteries Can Help NJ Achieve Clean-Energy Goals, Save Money for Ratepayers, NJ spotlight

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

Energy News for week ending April 24, 2020

Secretive Group | Rejected | Increased Performance | Complex Power

Happy Friday afternoon.

It has been a very busy day here so we’re cutting out the full recap for this week. Sorry about that.

Instead here are the links to some stories that piqued our curiosity and have the potential for big impacts.

Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

New report says R.I. will transition away from natural gas and oil heat, Providence Journal

Markey, Warren seek Weymouth compressor station’s coronavirus plan, Patriot Ledger

Report: Natural gas is a loser for long-term utility shareholder value, Utility Dive

Oil Plunges to Lowest Since 1986 Ahead of Contract Expiration, Bloomberg

The Fight To Stop Fossil Fuel Financing Is Poised To Get Some Powerful New Allies, Huffington Post

The coronavirus crisis means we may have already reached peak carbon, CNBC

Oil price goes negative as demand collapses; stocks dip, Taunton Gazette

Pandemic Shutdown Is Speeding Up The Collapse Of Coal, NPR

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

This year is on track to be Earth’s warmest on record, beating 2016, NOAA says, Washington Post

Senators’ letter urge Gov. Wolf to rescind RGGI, Indiana Gazette

After Pandemic, New York’s Buildings Face Daunting Decarbonization Mandate, Greentech Media

‘Dead in the water’: New York’s clean energy sector looks for a jump-start, Politico.com

Clean energy can be a ‘huge job creator’ as economy recovers, Tom Steyer says, LA Times

Harvard pledges net-zero investment in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Boston Globe

Pandemic to drive carbon emissions down 6% this year: WMO, Reuters

Analysis: Coronavirus set to cause largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions, Carbon Brief

Drop in emissions due to pandemic won’t fix climate, WMO says, Reuters

Arctic will see ice-free summers by 2050 as globe warms, study says, USA Today

Net-zero target gets mixed reviews, CommonWealth Magazine

New Renewable Energy Agreements To Reduce Boston Scientific Carbon Footprint By Half, Global Energy World

 

Wind

New York hits the brakes on 2.5 GW solicitation of offshore wind due to COVID-19, Utility Dive

Can Offshore Wind Prop Up Oil’s Supply Chain Through the Price Crunch,? Greentech Media

Brayton Point owners say wind industry showing interest in site, The Herald News

Wind is Now America’s Largest Renewable Energy Provider and the Top Choice for New Utility-Scale Power, NA Clean Energy

Vineyard Wind’s Permitting On Track Despite Coronavirus, BOEM Says, Greentech Media

Rooftop Wind Power Might Take Off by Using Key Principle of Flight, Scientific American

Wind turbine noise affects dream sleep and perceived sleep restoration, EurakAlert!.org

BOEM considers virtual public comment on Vineyard Wind study, National Fisherman

Skipjack offshore wind announces 1 year delay due to federal permitting holdups, Utility Dive

 

Solar

Grant will bring solar planning to 3 Western Massachusetts towns, MassLive

A New Response to Coronavirus: Giving Solar Away for Free, Greentech Media

Trump Administration Removes Tariff Exemption for Bifacial Solar Panels — Again, Greentech Media

Secretive group’s petition to FERC could ‘end net metering as we know it,’ lawyers say, Utility Dive

Physicists develop approach to increase performance of solar energy, Phys.org

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Renewable industry urges New Jersey to address the peak with storage, PV Magazine

Storage, smart grid, energy efficiency sectors see $337M in Q1 corporate funding: Report, Utility Dive

 

EVs

New Jersey to Devote Cap-and-Trade Revenue to Electrifying Transportation, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Nuclear

Fate of Beaver Valley plant could hinge on federal fight over nuclear payments in power markets, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Nuclear Industry Pushes Back Against Coronavirus, Forbes

1st Shutdown Imminent At Indian Point, Patch.com

Indian Point closure during pandemic is wrong, says climate group, World Nuclear News

NextEra, NRC pressed for pandemic plan at Seabrook Station, Newburyport Daily News

NRC Delivers Briefing On Indian Point Decommissioning, WAMC

Trump officials pitch nuclear plan that would bolster struggling uranium industry, The Hill

Petition calls for Indian Point nuclear plant to continue operating, NEI Magazine

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Shedding light on complex power systems, MIT News

Utility Stocks Aren’t Immune to COVID-19’s Impact, NASDAQ.com

New England grid operator, market participants divided over how to improve region’s energy security, Utility Dive

New York demand response providers press regulators for flexibility as COVID-19 challenges mount, Utility Dive

See how covid-19 is reshaping the electric rhythms of New York City, New York Times

How utilities are using AI to adapt to electricity demands, VentureBeat.com

Judge rejects lawsuit aimed at derailing vote on CMP Power line project, Press Herald

NARUC Publishes New Smart Grid Interoperability Report, NARUC.org (press release)

 

Editorial/Opinion

Dear efficiency advocates: Don’t fear electrification, Utility Dive

Reflections on the First Earth Day and What’s Ahead for New York, NRDC.org

Envisioning a vibrant, healthy state powered by 100% renewable energy, Greenfield Recorder

Letter to the Editor: CMP headlines, Daily BullDog

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

Energy News for week ending April 17, 2020

Double Capacity | Stay-at-Home Savings | Owl’s Wings

Happy Friday afternoon.

This week we’re focusing on some good news stories. We figure we can all use some upbeat information these days.

We start with a State House News Service report via WBUR, “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 take effect Wednesday, the administration said. A public hearing will be held virtually in May and a public comment period will stay open until May 22. In the update, DOER expanded the program’s capacity from 1,600 to 3,200 megawatts, which the administration said ‘will create a stable runway for growth of solar to continue’ in Massachusetts. DOER also expanded the criteria for projects in low-income areas and established a set-aside to provide a more stable incentive rate for those projects.”

Next, we move to New York with a story from Greentech Media, “In New York, a New Way for Stay-at-Home Customers to Get Paid for Shaving Peak Energy. A new program in Westchester County will allow customers to make money at home using software, smart meters and demand response. New York is struggling with the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak, but it’s also pushing ahead on its ambitious clean energy goals. Those include major expansions of wind and solar power, more energy storage to manage that intermittent supply — and, on the demand side of the equation, programs that can turn utility customers from passive consumers into active grid-balancing participants. Take GridRewards, a program launched last week by community-choice aggregator Sustainable Westchester and building energy software and demand response provider Logical Buildings. Beyond providing efficiency tips and energy usage insights, GridRewards will give Sustainable Westchester’s 115,000 or so customers a chance to get paid for reducing energy consumption when utility Con Edison needs to relieve its straining grid. That’s a timely offer for Westchester County residents stuck at home under the state’s COVID-19 restrictions and looking for ways to reduce rising utility bills. It’s also a way for Logical Buildings to gain load-reduction capacity in the residential sector, which is seeing electricity usage rising even as New York City’s locked-down commercial sector’s demand is falling.”

Our new energy technology story for this week comes from the Smithsonian Magazine, “To Silence Wind Turbines and Airplanes, Engineers Are Studying Owl Wings. No one knows exactly how the nocturnal hunters manage their whisper-soft flight, yet it’s inspiring the design of quieter airplanes, fans and wind turbines. Every owl fancier has a story of the first time they heard an owl — or, rather, didn’t hear one. It’s unforgettable to see an enormous bird, whose wingspan can reach more than six feet, slipping through the air without even a whisper…Laboratory measurements have shown that the slight swoosh made by a barn owl is below the threshold of human hearing until the owl is about three feet away — a feat of stealth that biologists and engineers are far from completely understanding. But researchers from both disciplines are working to solve the riddle of silent flight — some with the aim of designing quieter fans, turbine blades and airplane wings. Such owl-inspired innovations can reduce noise by as much as 10 decibels, similar to the difference in noise between a passing truck and a passing car…

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Offshore Oil Could Soon Be Powered By Wind, Oilprice.com

Opponents of compressor station say workers aren’t following rules, Patriot Ledger

No safety issue with gas pipeline near Indian Point, NRC says, Mid-Hudson News

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

To cut carbon emissions, a movement grows to ‘electrify everything,’ PBS.org

Energy Department Considers New Partnership to Bring Star Power to Earth, Nextgov.com

New website will help steer the U.S. away from fossil fuels, Phsy.org

As CO2 Emissions Drop During Pandemic, Methane May Rise, Scientific American

Social Distancing Is Rewriting the Cleantech Startup Survival Guide, Greentech Media

Engie North America launches financing plan for renewable projects, Daily Energy Insider

CESA launches 100% Clean Energy Collaborative, Renewable Energy World

Climate change affects everything — even the coronavirus, Washington Post

Trump officials reject stricter air quality standards, despite link between air pollution, coronavirus risks, Washington Post

Mass. lost thousands of clean energy jobs in March, says new report, Boston Business Journal

Clean energy shed 106,000 U.S. jobs in March, erasing a year of gains, Reuters

As Trump and McConnell mock clean energy, the industry could soon lose a half-million jobs, Vox.com

EPA Changes Another Emissions Rule; This Time It’s About Mercury, WBUR

 

Wind

Anbaric confronts regulators in quest to create subsea transmission highway, S&P Global

Iberdrola Plans to Take Top Spot in US Offshore Wind (and Keep It), Greentech Media

RODA request pause in offshore wind development amid COVID-19 pandemic, SeafoodSource

Wind Turbine Factories Struggle For Parts in Virus Lockdown, Bloomberg

To Silence Wind Turbines and Airplanes, Engineers Are Studying Owl Wings, Smithsonian Magazine

 

Solar

Second Homes, Solar Arrays, Vineyard Concerts Test Little Compton’s Rural Character, EcoRI

New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity, WBUR

Niagara Town Board approves first step toward solar energy project, Buffalo News

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Massachusetts struggles to incentivize behind-the-meter storage, PV Magazine

In New York, a New Way for Stay-at-Home Customers to Get Paid for Shaving Peak Energy, Greentech Media

Energy Efficiency Industry Seeks Aid as House Panel Seeks Ideas, Bloomberg Law

Efficiency sector gets creative to stem COVID-19 job losses, maintain energy savings, Utility Dive

Groups sue DOE over ‘arbitrary’ threshold they say will avoid tougher efficiency standards for appliances, Utility Dive

COVID-19 hits clean energy jobs, but storage companies could be ‘bucking the trend,’ Utility Dive

 

EVs

Coronavirus Got Rid of Smog. Can Electric Cars Do So Permanently?, Wall St. Journal

‘Charger desert’ in big cities keeps electric cars from mainstream, Boston Business Journal

As states use less coal for electricity, driving electric vehicles becomes even cleaner, Green Car Congress

 

Nuclear

Millstone moving forward with reactor refueling amid COVID-19 pandemic, The Day

Could Full Decarbonization Depend on New Nuclear or CCS?, Greentech Media

New ‘Beyond Indian Point’ Campaign Launches as Nuclear Facility Shuts Down; Focuses on NY’s Transition to Renewable Energy, Riverkeeper

Pennsylvania raises alarms on transfer of radioactive Three Mile Island reactor, WHYY

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

New England Ratepayers Association files net metering petition with FERC, Daily Energy Insider

CMP power line’s chief backer spent $5 million this year to promote it, Press Herald

Federal spending makes more energy assistance available, AP News

Judge OKs referendum on utility corridor; appeal is expected, News Center Maine

Microgrid Bill that Clarifies Utility & Operator Roles Approved by Maine House, Microgrid Knowledge

How New England Is Keeping The Lights On During The Pandemic, WBUR

Electricity prices pushed to new lows as coronavirus cuts New England demand with businesses closed and employees at home, Hartford Courant

Power forecasters struggle to find grid’s ‘new normal,’ E&E News

Virus Throws $6 Billion in Higher U.S. Utility Bills Into Limbo, Bloomberg

 

Editorial/Opinion

THE ARGUMENT: Should Massachusetts cities and towns ban new natural gas hook-ups,? Boston Globe

Will the Coronavirus Kill the Oil Industry?, New Yorker

Post-coronavirus economic recovery requires EV adoption, Utility Dive

New York’s Fracking Ban and Its Discontents, Energy Central

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

Energy News for week ending April 10, 2020

CCC | Decarbonize the Peak | Float

Happy Friday afternoon.

While many types of work have stopped due to the pandemic, the State House News Service via WBUR tells us that the Weymouth Compressor Construction Continues. “The construction of a major natural gas infrastructure project in Weymouth is one effort that hasn’t been hindered by the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We are currently proceeding with construction activities for the Weymouth Compressor Station, while taking steps to protect work crews and the public,’ Enbridge spokesman Max Bergeron said. Enbridge is following guidance provided by governmental authorities, Bergeron said, noting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified energy infrastructure as being critical during the COVID-19 response.”

From the National Law Journal we have news about Massachusetts. “Following months of development and building on a host of previous renewable and alternative energy portfolio programs intended to incrementally decarbonize the electric sector, Massachusetts is poised to codify a Clean Energy Peak Standard (CPS) in the summer of 2020. In contrast to the existing Massachusetts programs, which have incentivized renewable and alternative energy sources simply to ‘show-up,’ the CPS takes aim at incentivizing new and existing generation resources to ‘show-up at the right time’ in order to further reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. Electricity generators and commercial, industrial and residential energy consumers alike should understand this new incentive program.”

Our new technology story this week comes out of Northeastern. “If you’re a wind turbine, there’s one place where you’d want to be. Far from the shore, out in the open ocean, and particularly in the North Atlantic, where the wind’s energy could potentially power an entire country the size of the United States. But harvesting wind energy in the ocean has posed an engineering feat that requires specialized equipment to manufacture and install heavy towers and propeller-like blades to catch the wind. Those towers—massive steel structures larger than the Statue of Liberty—need to be affixed to the sea floor. That means wind energy is a resource that can only be tapped in shallow waters, and that turbines need to be constructed at sea. Andrew Myers, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern, and his collaborator, Jim Papadopoulos, intend to change that. Myers envisions a process by which wind turbines could be built in U.S. boatyards, launched in shallow ports, and then towed out to the sea. For the past two years, Myers and Papadopoulos have been designing a super light wind turbine that floats in the ocean and that can be installed in both shallow and deep waters. This kind of turbine, anchored to the sea floor, is also designed to reorient itself naturally to face the wind.

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Weymouth Compressor Construction Continues Despite Pandemic, WBUR

No need for natural gas pipeline across Raritan Bay, environmental report says, My Central Jersey

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Massachusetts Races to Decarbonize the Peak, National Law Review

New York launches $16m fund for clean energy businesses, Renews.biz

New renewable energy siting act voted into law with some changes, NNY360

Wood Mackenzie: What Crashing LNG Prices Mean for Renewables, Greentech Media

New York becomes first state to establish renewables siting office in an effort to speed up deployment, Utility Dive

The coronavirus is hitting renewable energy supply chains and factories, and could slow the global energy transition, CNBC

Even Facing A Pandemic, New York State Remains In The Grip Of The Green Movement, Forbes.com

Oil Companies Are Collapsing, but Wind and Solar Energy Keep Growing, New York Times

Burlington sets ‘Green Stimulus Package’ as part of response to virus, VT Digger

Inside clean energy’s coronavirus job crash, E&E News

7 Transmission Projects That Could Unlock a Renewable Energy Bounty, Greentech Media

Green Hydrogen Pipeline Surges on a Wave of Announced Mega-Projects, Greentech Media

 

Wind

It’s hard to anchor wind turbines to the ocean floor. He’s building one that floats., Northeastern News

Vineyard files Park City Wind mitigation plan, Renews.biz

Coronavirus Unnerves US Wind Market During Record Year for Construction, Greentech Media

New England fishing groups wary of rapid offshore wind development plans , National Wind Watch

Sound from Scituate Wind turbine in compliance with MassDEP regs, Wicked Local Scituate

Turbine work upsets residents, The Observer (NY)

 

Solar

Utility Customers Will No Longer Fund State’s Solar Projects, BPU Rules, NJ Spotlight

Officials outraged over proposed solar siting changes, Hudson Valley 360

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Energy efficiency efforts are shutting down due to COVID-19, threatening jobs and savings, Utility Dive

DOE eyes storage technologies to improve the performance of fossil fuel plants, Utility Dive

‘Horrible.’ Coronavirus unravels energy efficiency industry, E&E News

Residents and Businesses Can Earn Cash for Energy Saving Actions Through Innovative “GridRewards” Pilot Program, The Daily Times (NY)

States step up climate efforts by requiring utilities to increase energy efficiency, Greenbiz

 

EVs

Why You May Want to Seriously Consider a Microgrid for your Electric Vehicles, Microgrid Knowledge

Ahead of the EV pack: How other states can replicate New Jersey’s legislative success, Utility Dive

IDTechEx Predicts Electric Vehicle Charging Going Zero-Emission, Off-Grid, NA Clean Energy

 

Nuclear

Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Transfer To Go On Despite Coronavirus Concerns, WBUR

NRC to Conduct Public Webinar on April 21 to Discuss Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Topics, Energy Central

NRC to Meet with Connecticut Nuclear Energy Advisory Council to Discuss Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Performance, NRC News Release

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

A warning sign? N.Y. lockdown jolts electricity demand, E&E News

WoodMac: Coronavirus Will Undercut North American Power Demand Through 2021, Greentech Media

Utilities move to delay rate case proceedings during pandemic, Utility Dive

Nearly 650 MW of New York City peaking capacity will retire to comply with tighter regulations, S&P Global Platts

The Power Plant of the Future Is Right in Your Home, Wired

CMP affiliate awards $300 million in contracts for power line project, Press Herald

Virus May Nix 39% of Projects to Build New U.S. Power Plants, Bloomberg Law

How Coronavirus Is Transforming Power Demand in MISO and the Northeast, Greentech Media

Another Way to See the Recession: Power Usage Is Way Down, New York Times

Coronavirus response: Eversource donates $2M to nonprofits; Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts is one recipient, MassLive

Microgrid Bill that Clarifies Utility & Operator Roles Approved by Maine House, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

Hybrid Power Plants Are Growing Rapidly, But Are They a Good Idea?, Greentech Media

Mainers know truth about CMP, Central Maine

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

Energy News for week ending April 3, 2020

Nukes Offline | Open for Business | Climate Change Vodka

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start with news from the CT Mirror that “Most NE nuclear power offline due to timing fluke and problem. All but unnoticed as the coronavirus pandemic tears through the Northeast: the New England power grid is without 75% of its nuclear power – with more to go…The Seabrook Nuclear plant in New Hampshire went offline on Tuesday for its refueling – that’s 1,245 megawatts of power. Unit 2 of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, with about 870 megawatts, is due for refueling this spring as well. But in the meantime, Millstone Unit 3,  which carries about 1,230 megawatts , tripped offline less than a day after the Seabrook shutdown due to a circuit fault between the main generator and the switchyard, according to Kenneth Holt, spokesman for the plant’s owner Dominion Energy. The automatic reactor protection system kicked in as it was supposed to and the plant was shut down. As of Friday noon, the grid mix showed nuclear at 8% and natural gas at a whopping 68%.”

According to ReNews.biz, “Brayton Point Commerce Center in Massachusetts is open for business for the offshore wind industry, having completed upgrades to support heavy-lift port operations and receive deep-draft vessels at the site…Works include preparing Brayton Point as a suitable location for an offshore wind marshalling port and hub for manufacturing offshore wind components…CDC has been engaged in discussions with offshore wind industry companies. Prospective tenants include manufacturing, logistics, cable interconnections, maintenance, and other bulk materials, said the company. CDC executive vice president Stephen Collins said: ‘e have seen significant interest from prospective tenants wishing to use the port for offshore wind operations. These discussions take time as the investments are sizable.’ To date Brayton Point has received a total of nine vessel calls, including offshore wind research boats. In May 2019 grid asset developer Anbaric signed an agreement with CDC to build a 1200MW high voltage direct current converter and 400MW battery storage plant at Brayton Point to support the offshore wind industry.”

For our new technology feature we bring you this story from the New York Times, “Vodka From Thin Air: An Unusual Climate Prize Hits a Coronavirus Snag. In 2017, Stafford Sheehan handed a friend an unusual bottle of booze. He had made it himself — but not the usual way. A chemical physicist, Dr. Sheehan had invented a process to make alcohol from carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas associated with climate change, not cocktail hour. ‘‘I said, ‘Hold on, you made this from carbon dioxide?’’ recalled his friend, Gregory Constantine, who worked in marketing for Smirnoff. Now the two are in the vodka business, using Dr. Sheehan’s technology and marketing it as a way to fight global warming. Their company, Air Co., was one of 10 finalists for a pair of $7.5 million prizes to be awarded this year to the teams that can devise the most profitable use for carbon dioxide…The five-year competition, the Carbon XPrize, was designed to create a financial incentive to capture carbon dioxide and use it profitably, instead of releasing it. However, just as the Brooklyn vodka makers — along with the nine other finalists from as far afield as Nova Scotia (stronger concrete), India (an ingredient in pharmaceuticals) and China (a plastics replacement) — were approaching the finish line, the competition has been delayed by the coronavirus crisis.” Bummer.

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Fracking Once Lifted Pennsylvania. Now It Could Be a Drag., New York Times

New York’s last coal-burning power plant closes on Lake Ontario shore, The Buffalo News

Curing hospitals’ addiction to the fossil fuels that make people sick, Boston Globe Magazine

Coronavirus, cheap natural gas and building electrification, GreenBiz

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

What the Renewables Industry Wants From the Next Stimulus Bill, Greentech Media

Vodka From Thin Air: An Unusual Climate Prize Hits a Coronavirus Snag, New York Times

COVID-19 will slow the global shift to renewable energy, but can’t stop it, The Conversation

The missing puzzle piece for getting to 100% clean power, Vox

Legislature Opposes Governor ‘Fast Tracking’ Renewable Energy Projects, The Post Journal

GTM’s Live Coronavirus Blog: The Impact on Clean Energy, Greentech Media

Wind, Solar Farms Are Seen as Havens in Coronavirus Storm, Wall St. Journal

The ozone layer is healing and redirecting wind flows around the globe, New Scientist

Economic fallout threatens Washington momentum to counter climate change, Washington Examiner

 

Wind

When will the US get 1 GW of offshore wind on the grid?, Utility Dive

Wind Giant Iberdrola Throws Its Weight Behind Floating Offshore Market, Greentech Media

‘Disappointed’ US wind sector vows to fight on after $2trn coronavirus stimulus lockout, Recharge News

Pomfret makes changes to wind turbine law, Observer Today (NY)

Orsted secures Ocean Wind interconnection, Renews.biz

Connecticut Port Authority secures use of more land in New London, The Day

Brayton ‘open for US offshore wind business’, Renews.biz

 

Solar

Most US Solar Manufacturing Continues Despite Coronavirus Restrictions, Greentech Media

Rockland considers signing on to Skowhegan solar farm project, Penobscot Bay Pilot

State OKs plan to buy power from Conn. solar project, Providence Journal

Live free of fossil fuels or die trying: A New Hampshire solar case study, Solar Power World

New Hampshire net metering bill remains in limbo, Daily Energy Insider

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

The best ways to save energy during the coronavirus pandemic, Bangor Daily News

First “Passive Building” residence hall in Mass. cuts costs by 50%, New England Real Estate Journal

New York state on course to meet aggressive energy storage goals, Niagara Frontier Publications

Distributed storage could see growth in demand amid COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say, Utility Dive

Eversource pulls Westmoreland project planned to help during outages, Keene Sentinel

New Jersey’s energy efficiency approach could reduce incentive to invest, stakeholders warn, Utility Dive

New York’s ‘VDER’ Alternative Payment Method Helps Spur Energy Storage, Microgrid Knowledge

COVID-19 disrupts storage bidding processes for New York utilities, but state report shows progress, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

Most NE nuclear power offline due to timing fluke and problem, CTMirror

How The Coronavirus Is Complicating Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant’s Plan To Replace Fuel Rods, WBUR (Audio)

EIA issues report on the nuclear power plants in the United States, Daily Energy Insider

NRC board delays Seabrook concrete decision until July, Newburyport Daily News

Pilgrim decommissioning continues during pandemic, MV Times

US allowing longer shifts at nuclear plants in pandemic, AP News

Spent-fuel transfer moves forward despite coronavirus concerns, Cape Cod Times

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Enough valid signatures to get CMP transmission corridor on ballot, officials say, WGME

State’s Good Neighbor Energy Fund requesting donations, Sentinel and Enterprise

New Jersey looks to exit PJM capacity market, worried the MOPR will impede its 100% carbon-free goals, Utility Dive

NYISO Workers Now Living at Grid Control Centers, Power Magazine

Winter 2019/2020 recap: Power system performed well during mild winter, ISO Newswire

Congress strikes deal to restore low-income heating assistance funds, Press Herald

Grid crisis plan gets pandemic test, E&E News

Energy Groups Supply Gear, Donate Millions to Fight COVID-19, Power Magazine

National Grid workers sequestered so they can keep the power on, Telegram.com

 

Editorial/Opinion

Think Solar While Hunkered Down At Home, Sandwich Enterprise

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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 March 27, 2020

Momentum slows | All Electric Home Boom | Sleek Reactor Housing

 

Happy Friday afternoon folks. We hope you’re all feeling and doing well and that can you find some time to get out and enjoy today’s beautiful weather.

We start this week with a story from S&P Global, “Coronavirus slows gas ban momentum, creates obstacles for pipeline opponents. The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for climate activists, disrupting attempts to limit natural gas use in buildings and forcing pipeline opponents to retrench in the digital realm. Cities, towns and counties have spearheaded recent efforts to ban gas use or require electric heating in new buildings. But COVID-19 response is now consuming local lawmakers’ attention, while restrictions on public gatherings hamper meetings required to craft the policies. Meanwhile, environmentalists are scrambling to move meetings and public demonstrations to online venues as states order citizens to remain at home. The groups are simultaneously waging a new battle against oil and gas bailouts and positioning themselves to navigate the post-coronavirus landscape…The Bay State’s first gas ban passed in the 240-member Brookline Town Meeting in November 2019, but just four months later, such a gathering has become virtually unimaginable. Mothers Out Front, a climate activist group that fought for the ban, outlined a plan on March 11 to move meetings online, train members to organize in the digital realm, and offer tools for social media and call-in campaigns.”

One trend that the article above mentions is the move to requiring all-electric housing. An article from Greentech Media delves into the future market potential. “A Boom Is Coming for All-Electric Homes Despite Lagging Consumer Awareness. Global revenue for home electric heating, cooling and cooking equipment could increase by more than five times by the end of the decade. The surge in spending on all-electric homes is expected even though many consumers are unfamiliar with the natural-gas-displacing electric appliances on the market today. Around 70 million American homes burn natural gas, oil or propane for space and water heating, according to Navigant Research. But the fossil-fuel-burning furnaces, water heaters and stoves many Americans have long relied on now have competition in the form of electric air-source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and induction cooking equipment. ‘Electrification technologies are rapidly becoming more cost-effective and more reliable than fossil-fuel systems in a variety of planning scenarios and climatic conditions,’ Daniel Talero and Neil Strother, research analysts at Navigant Research, wrote in a new report on the global market for ‘fully electrified home’ technologies. Navigant expects global revenue for fully electrified home technologies to soar to $12.9 billion in 2029, up from $2.4 billion in 2020. The category includes insulation and energy management systems as well as heat pumps and induction cooking equipment.”

The last highlight for this week comes from a publication we don’t often cite – Architectural Digest. “This Sleek Building Is Actually a Nuclear Reactor. When you picture a nuclear power plant, you probably imagine giant concrete cooling towers set within fenced-off industrial complexes. But the future of nuclear power has a very different look. California-based company Oklo is developing new clean energy plants that use advanced fission to provide areas with emission-free energy. The company recently received a site permit from the U.S. Department of Energy to build its first plant, the Aurora, at the Idaho National Laboratory. When working on the design, which was done in collaboration with Gensler, the company first considered the needs of the rural communities they hoped to serve in areas such as northern Alaska. ‘Right now they rely on diesel or oil,’ says CEO Jacob DeWitte. ‘That’s obviously expensive. It’s also noisy, it’s polluting, and it’s susceptible to supply-chain disruptions.’ The Aurora, on the other hand, produces 1.5 megawatt—enough to power about 1,000 homes—and can run for 20 years without refueling. It also would save 1 million tons of carbon emissions over a diesel generator and can turn nuclear waste into clean energy. The small footprint of the technology gave the company the opportunity to devise an unexpected A-frame design for the structure, which looks more like a ski chalet than a power plant…While most power plants have tight security, the advanced reactor technology Oklo is using allows the Aurora to be open to the environment—and even the public. The Aurora will have a light-filled front atrium that the company imagines could be used for a tourist or event space. The A-frame’s exterior features solar panels using technology by Sistine Solar, a company that creates custom skins for panels. Each Aurora will showcase artwork by local artists. For the concept artwork, Oklo worked with artist Forest Stearns, who devised a piece based on an image of an aurora from space.”

That’s the recap for this week. Stay well and have a great weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

New York State PSC embarks on plan to examine natural gas usage, investments, Daily Energy Insider

Competitive Power Ventures gas plant uses new GE combustion system to cut fuel costs with ethane blend, Utility Dive

With financial squeeze tightening, coal is collapsing faster than some predicted, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

A power-to-gas system integrating co-electrolysis and methanation, pv magazine International

Coronavirus slows gas ban momentum, creates obstacles for pipeline opponents, S&P Global

Tens of Thousands Are Getting Laid Off in U.S. Shale Patch, YAHOO!

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Massachusetts Set to Launch Clean Peak Standard, Opening New Chapter in Grid’s Evolution, Greentech Media

Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects to Deliver Clean Energy to New York, T&D World

Why we won’t avoid a climate catastrophe, National Geographic News

Green Plate Special: The fate of wild salmon may point to the fate of the planet, Portland Press Herald

Burning Wood Can Be a Clean Source of Power After All, Bloomberg

Maine’s lands and waters 200 years later? Very different, Portland Press Herald

Climate change set to make extreme heat more common – and costly, Reuters

Oswego County Legislature opposes Cuomo’s plan to site wind and solar plants regardless of local objections, NNY 360

Nearly $2T stimulus package omits direct renewable sector aid after Trump, McConnell opposition, Utility Dive

How to Give Certainty to US Renewables Regardless of a Stimulus Package, Greentech Media

10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change, Axios

COVID-19 may sport the thinnest silver lining: a cleaner climate, Utility Dive

Radio Corona: so what about climate change?, MIT Technology Review

Could COVID-19 Give Rise to the Home Microgrid?, Microgrid Knowledge

Coronavirus shows how to fight disinformation about climate change, Fast Company

The Analogy Between Covid-19 and Climate Change Is Eerily Precise, Wired

Climate and the $2 Trillion Stimulus Package, New York Times

Coronavirus Holds Key Lessons on How to Fight Climate Change, Yale Environment 360

The coronavirus stimulus will inject trillions into the economy. Here’s how it could also help the planet., Grist

 

Wind

Federal study surveys spawning Atlantic Cod, Cape Cod Times

Berne, Knox, and Rensselaerville prohibit commercial wind turbines, Altamont Enterprise (NY)

Commission Dismisses Last Wind Project In Vermont, Caledonian Record

University of Maine Assigned Patent for Floating Hybrid Composite Wind Turbine Platform, Energy Central

Inside Clean Energy: At a Critical Moment, the Coronavirus Threatens to Bring Offshore Wind to a Halt, Inside Climate News

 

Solar

SunPower Wins Bid to Supply Solar Solutions in New England, Zacks.com

NJR Clean Energy Ventures solar array powers township’s water treatment plant, NJbiz.com

Board OK’s solar PILOT agreement, Leader Herald (NY)

How New York awarded more capacity than 34 states have installed, PV Magazine

Are Solar Workers ‘Essential’? The Industry May Soon Find Out, Greentech Media

Westfield Slated As Location For Proposed Solar Facility, The Post Journal

New carbon dot-based method for increasing the efficiency of solar cells and LEDs, Phys.org

No solar tax credit changes included in the $2 trillion rescue package in response to the pandemic, pvbuzz.com

Solar developers launch lobbying effort to curb COVID-19 impacts, advance remote permitting, Utility Dive

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

A Boom Is Coming for All-Electric Homes Despite Lagging Consumer Awareness, Greentech Media

 

EVs

A New Battery Breakthrough That Could Save Electric Vehicles During a Recession, Medium Marker

Electric car emissions myth ‘busted,’ BBC

The Vast Potential of Managed Electric Vehicle Charging, Greentech Media

Coronavirus pumps the brakes on the electric vehicle revolution, Grist

 

Nuclear

This Sleek Building Is Actually a Nuclear Reactor, Architectural Digest

Nuclear waste disposal: Why the case for deep boreholes is … full of holes, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Nuclear plant operating with essential staff, limiting other access, Newburyport Daily News

NRC Preparing Rule Changes Due to Coronavirus, POWER Magazine

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Judge kicks anti-corridor referendum back to Dunlap after 2 allege signatures were forged, Bangor Daily News

BPU Takes Appeal Over Multistate $1.2B Transmission Upgrade to Federal Court, NJ Spotlight

Virginia rejects Dominion’s $752M smart meter plan, other grid mod proposals, Utility Dive

How Electricity Use Changes During a Pandemic, Greentech Media

Could COVID-19 Give Rise to the Home Microgrid?, Microgrid Knowledge

A Utility Vowed To Stop Shutoffs. Advocates Say Hundreds May Still Lack Electricity., Huffington Post

Coronavirus response: Massachusetts utility companies ordered to not shut off gas, electric or water for people who fail to pay bills, MassLive

Electricity demand dips as coronavirus alters work, school patterns, S&P Global

Anticipating the Economic Crisis: Why Everything Will Be Different, Greentech Media (Podcast)

North American Power Markets Will Look Different in the 2020s, Greentech Media

Grid Operators Turn Control Centers Into Campsites to Keep Coronavirus at Bay, New York Times

America’s Electricity is Safe From the Coronavirus—for Now, Wired

Coronavirus response: Massachusetts utility companies ordered to not shut off gas, electric or water for people who fail to pay bills, MassLive

What are the chances of a widespread power outage during the coronavirus crisis? Low, Boston Globe

CMP parent company pledges $2 million to pandemic relief, Portland Press Herald

National Grid holds off on April 1 rate increases amid coronavirus, Times Union

 

Editorial/Opinion

With oil prices falling amid the COVID-19 recession, it’s the beginning of the end for fracking, Salon

Our view: US must help NJ reduce electric grid waste at ratepayers’ expense, Press of Atlantic City

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