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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Energy News for week ending March 20, 2020

Protect marine life | The neighbors hate it | Initial approval

TGIF. We hope everyone is staying well and following all public health rules for keeping us all safe in these crazy times. Sticking together while staying apart may be an oxymoron but it’s a lifesaving one. That’s today’s public service announcement.

By the way, we have a whole section on the coronavirus and Covid-19 and its effects on the energy industry below. But for our part, we’ve selected three other stories to highlight to give you a break from that news.

From North American Wind Power, “Greentown Labs, a North American cleantech incubator, and Vineyard Wind, developer of the first utility-scale offshore wind energy generation facility in the U.S., are accepting applications for the Offshore Wind Challenge. Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind are seeking submissions from startups that are innovating in marine mammal monitoring, either surrounding data collection and real-time transmission or data analysis…The Offshore Wind Challenge is for startups with a technology readiness level between three and six and a proof of concept that can be brought to a state of practice.”

They say good fences make good neighbors, but I don’t think a fence will help this guy. From the New York Times, “He Set Up a Big Solar Farm. His Neighbors Hated It. Neighbors used to wave to Timothy Masters whenever he stood outside his cherry-red barn, trading hellos across his corn and soybean fields in this small town about 10 miles north of Niagara Falls. That ended about a year ago, when a field of solar panels was deposited on 18 acres of Mr. Masters’s land. Mr. Masters, the building inspector in Lewiston, is among a growing number of landowners trying to cash in on New York State’s push toward renewable energy: The solar company now leasing his land, he said, pays him 20 times more than the soybean farmer who had previously rented it. But by replacing lush green soybean plants with rows of silicon and metal solar panels, Mr. Masters has found himself the target of a growing backlash against the spread of solar farms in rural areas.”

Last up for this week, from the Portland Press Herald, “CMP power line project wins initial approval from Maine DEP. Central Maine Power Co.’s plan to build a transmission line through western Maine’s mountains cleared a significant hurdle [last] Friday when the Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft permit for the $1 billion project. The initial approval puts significant conditions on the project to limit its impacts, in one instance decreasing the width of the corridor to nearly one-third of what the company had requested. In announcing the order, the DEP said in a statement that its approval ‘requires an unprecedented level of environmental and natural resource protection in the permitting of Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect Project.’ But opponents of the project were quick to dismiss the permit order as doing little to protect Maine’s environment and resources, and some foes called out the DEP for announcing its decision while the state is focused on battling the coronavirus pandemic.”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a great weekend and stay healthy.

Coronavirus/Covid-19

‘An immediate and dramatic business concern’: How COVID-19 is disrupting the energy sector, Utility Dive

What COVID-19 and Climate Change Have in Common, Greentech Media

Coronavirus response should promote clean energy — IEA, Axios

For Wind and Solar Sectors, Biggest Coronavirus Risk May Be a Damaged Economy, Greentech Media

Coronavirus fallout could be the ‘nail in the coffin’ for smaller oil companies, Grist

What climate change can teach us about fighting the coronavirus, Hartford Courant

Pandemic Creating ‘Crisis’ for Solar Industry, Power Magazine

Keeping the Lights On: US Utility Sector Braces for Coronavirus Impact, Greentech Media

U.S. Power Use Weakening After Plunging in Italy Amid Coronavirus, Wall St. Journal

U.S. power industry may ask key employees to live at work if coronavirus worsens, Reuters

Coronavirus Could Make It Harder to Keep Wind Farms Up and Running, Greentech Media

National Grid sets aside $500K in customer aid, WHEC

R.I. Utilities Commission Offers Relief from Shut-Offs, ECO RI

Unitil, Eversource, Liberty Utilities suspend power shutoffs amid coronavirus crisis, Foster’s Daily Democrat

National Grid suspends disconnections, collections, Telegram

Avangrid’s CT companies suspend penalty fees for payment problems during coronavirus pandemic, New Haven Register

Maine energy regulators issue emergency moratorium on utilities service disconnections, Bangor Daily News

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Lawyers in Columbia Gas settlement seek early payout, Gloucester Times

Residents call for halt to compressor station construction, Patriot Ledger

Eliot to net $900K a year for gas line station expansion, Seacoastonline.com

U.S. Gulf oil lease sale is weakest since 2016, Reuters

A Tiny Country, an Oil Giant, and Their Shared Fortune, New York Times

Newfoundland offshore Bay du Nord project deferred indefinitely, Chronicle Herald

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Proposed New England power projects reflect ‘dramatic shift’ from gas to renewables, IEEFA

Curbing emissions could save Vermonters $800 million, report says, VTDigger

New York develops 21 new renewable energy projects, CSO Magazine

Solar Dominates Wind in New York’s Latest Renewable Procurement, Greentech Media

Why Scientists Should Shape Environmental Policy, Foreign Policy

Coalition calls for carbon cap-and-trade program across Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, WHYY

New York forestland could provide carbon credit to polluters, Northcountrypublicradio.org

State to Get Millions for Climate Change Strategies After Rejoining Regional Energy Initiative, NJ Spotlight

Study: global banks ‘failing miserably’ on climate crisis by funneling trillions into fossil fuels, Guardian

Lynn is designated a ‘green community’ and receives state funds, Boston Globe

 

Wind

Planned Offshore Wind Turbines Will Have Connection To Shore Substation, Falmouth Enterprise

Maine Will Soon Be Home to 15 MW Wind Power Project, Environmental Leader

Apex Clean Energy applies for 33 wind turbines in Orleans County, Buffalo News

Oil major Total buys 80% stake in Erebus floating offshore wind project, Reuters

Wind power firm picks Rhode Island over New York for industry hub, Newsday

Offshore Wind Farm Development to Include Underground Cables, U.S. News & World Report

Greentown Labs, Vineyard Wind Launch Offshore Challenge to Protect Marine Life, NRG Wind Project

 

Solar

New York taps developers for almost 1.3 GW of solar, wind and storage across upstate region, Utility Dive

U.S. Solar Market Insight, SEIA

He Set Up a Big Solar Farm. His Neighbors Hated It., New York Times

Top 5 Emerging Solar Markets in the US, Greentech Media

Solar Drives Down Price for ISO-NE Power, Power Magazine

Solar Industry Grows 23% in 2019, But Clouds Are on the Horizon, Motley Fool

Solar-powered Harvard ArtLab to meet net-zero energy targets, Inhabitat

Castile solar farm among 21 renewable energy projects unveiled by state officials, Daily News Online

NH developers plan to build solar array in Maine, Journal Record

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Virginia Just Created a Storage Market Out of Thin Air, Greentech Media

These new battery technologies could be the future of energy storage, CNBC

Lead batteries make innovation push to better compete for energy storage projects, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

No halt in Vermont Yankee decommissioning, Brattleboro Reformer

Pennsylvania Move to Join RGGI May Save Nuclear Plant, Power Magazine

Billionaires Chasing Fusion Energy Face a Credibility Test, Bloomberg Green

Politics Continues to Complicate the Nation’s Nuclear Waste Disposal Dilemma, Inside Sources

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Shows Dry Cask Storage Is Safe – Yet Again, Forbes.com

Addressing Safety of Smart Devices for Use in Nuclear Power Plants, iaea.org

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

CMP power line project wins initial approval from Maine DEP, Portland Press Herald

Hydropower plan faces opposition, uncertain future, Salem News

New England’s wholesale energy market reaches historic low in 2019, (Press Release), ISO – NE

A New Era Is Beginning for the Grid Edge. Is the Utility Industry Ready,? Greentech Media

Retail buyers may be key to clean energy procurement in ISO-NE, PJM, NYISO: Report, Utility Dive

Smart Wires Looks to Ease Transmission Grid’s Mounting Challenges With Digital Controls, Greentech Media

ISO Outlook 2020: New England capacity additions about the same as 2019, S&P Global

State regulators approve sale of Emera Maine, Portland Press Herald

 

Editorial/Opinion

What Comes After Fossil Fuels?, The New Yorker

Column: Why we need offshore wind energy, Salem News

Should the public buy Columbia Gas?, CommonWealth Magazine

Op-ed: AG should focus on climate solutions, not lawsuits, Business Journals

NJ RGGI proceeds, Politico

This controversial energy stance splits top Democrats — and likely the country, MarketWatch

Anne Watson: Transportation & Climate Initiative would be a win for Vermont, VTDigger

What if we responded to the climate crisis with the same urgency as the coronavirus?, Boston Globe

LETTER: Why we need offshore wind energy, southcoasttoday.com

American Wind Energy Association Statement on Draft Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Routes Study, NA Clean Energy

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Energy News for week ending March 13, 2020

Something else not to feel good about | Can we keep the jobs? | Ethics Investigation

 

Happy Friday the 13th folks. What.A.Week.

Let’s start with coronavirus-related news. From the Washington Post, “Coronavirus could halt the world’s emissions growth. Not that we should feel good about that. Humans have seemed unable to get a handle on climate change, with global emissions of greenhouse gases continuing to grow every year. But a microscopic pathogen, so structurally simple that it does not even have a single cell and is arguably not even alive, may be capable of accomplishing what our political leaders thus far cannot. Experts say that greenhouse gas emissions in China, the world’s largest current contributor to climate change, are down 25 percent in recent weeks as the country conducted a massive societal intervention to stop the spread of the virus. Air pollution is also down, due to decreased driving and less coal burning. Meanwhile, as the virus enters a second phase, spreading beyond China to other countries, it is dampening global demand for oil and air travel, and threatening overall global economic growth. All of these are strongly linked to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Next up, Greentech Media asks, “Can New England Hang On to Its Offshore Wind Jobs? Siemens Gamesa, the world’s leading supplier of offshore wind turbines, recently revealed that it’s considering building a $200 million blade factory in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region — a potential cornerstone investment for the domestic supply chain. That’s great news for the U.S. offshore wind industry, though New England officials could be forgiven for being less than thrilled with the choice of location. An offshore wind jobs boom looks set to wash up on American shores…But where those jobs end up is still an open question. And it’s one that officials in New England…may have reason to be nervous about. New England is the cradle of the American offshore wind market and in many ways its spiritual home. It hosts the country’s only operating project (Block Island, off Rhode Island) and its only tailor-made offshore wind port (New Bedford, Massachusetts). Many of the U.S. industry’s most important companies are currently based here. But the region’s future role in the industry — particularly in manufacturing — looks uncertain. Waterside space is tight in southern New England, where many projects are clustered. A number of states in the Mid-Atlantic region, where the population and electricity demand are far larger, now have much higher offshore wind targets.”

We try to be fair and balanced in what we feature, so the last story highlight for this week is out of Maine – a follow-up to the private eye story from last week. From the Portland Press Herald, “Maine Ethics Commission votes 2-1 to investigate power line opponent. The Maine Ethics Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to launch an investigation into one of several groups opposing Central Maine Power Co.’s proposal to build a 145-mile transmission line through the mountains of western Maine. Commission staff will investigate whether Stop the Corridor should have registered as a ballot question committee or a political action committee when it collected funds and made in-kind contributions to a campaign that was gathering signatures for a statewide ballot question to block the corridor. A complaint by Clean Energy Matters, a CMP-funded political action committee that’s working to support the $1 billion project, prompted the commission’s action Tuesday. The investigation is expected to take at least a month.”

Those are the highlights for this week. Have a fun, safe, and healthy weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Gas-Heavy ISO-New England Braces for Steep Influx of Wind, Solar, Storage, Power Magazine

Maine Natural Gas to be fined $50,000 for safety violations, Portland Press Herald

South Shore Residents Protest Compressor Station In Weymouth,  CBS Local

National Grid holds first public meeting on gas supply options, Newsday

Trump administration moving to allow railroads to haul liquefied natural gas. Opponents say it’s a risk. Washington Post

Judge issues final approval of $143M gas disaster settlement, Eagle Tribune

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Coronavirus could halt the world’s emissions growth. Not that we should feel good about that., Washington Post

Some of Boston’s Priciest Real Estate Is Sinking Into the Earth, WSJ

Healey calls for expanded carbon pricing, CommonWealth Magazine

Coronavirus ‘Really Not the Way You Want To Decrease Emissions,’ Inside Climate News

Massachusetts Pursues New Climate Goals With Help From Local Clean Tech Industry, WGBH

Climate Change Impacting New England’s Maple Syrup Industry, CBS Boston

Climate change front and center at League of Women Voters forum, Boston Globe

Fossil-Fuel-Free Mutual Funds Growing In Popularity, WGBH

Climate report warns “time is fast running out” to avoid worst, CBS News

Giant greenhouses plan given 10th extension in Berlin, New Hampshire Union Leader

New York Setting the Pace for Accelerated Growth in Renewable Energy, with New Battery Tech, MarketWatch

Wayland residents to vote on greener electricity options, Wicked Local

City Council continues to push for ‘100% Renewable Energy’, City of Boston

Virginia becomes the first state in the South to target 100% clean power, Vox

Fiberight’s Waste Conversion Plant in Maine Finally Moves Forward, Waste360

Trump Administration Presses Cities to Evict Homeowners from Flood Zones, New York Times

 

Wind

Can New England Hang On to Its Offshore Wind Jobs,? Greentech Media

A Recycling Plan to Clear Wind Turbine Blades From Graveyards, Bloomberg Green

Trump’s punt on offshore wind sparks lobbying blitz, E&E News

AWEA: U.S. Offshore Wind Positioned for Massive Growth, NRG Wind Project

Why Orsted Doesn’t Need Anything but Offshore Wind, Greentech Media

While delays have hampered offshore wind, land-based turbines loom large in R.I., Providence Business News

Wind-powered turbines could clean pollutants from our air, New Scientist

 

Solar

The Vermont Solar Carport – A collaboration between Vermont Cooperatives, VTDigger

New Hampshire Developers Plan to Build Solar Array in Maine, U.S. News & World Report

Waterford Reconsiders 75-Acre Solar Farm, WSHU News

St. Johnsbury School to lease land for solar panel project, VTDigger

New Jersey Finalizes Transitional Solar Incentives, Giving Industry Price Certainty, Greentech Media

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

In these super-sustainable new apartments, you may never pay a heating bill, Curbed

How a decades-old design concept is transforming the energy efficiency of buildings, CNBC

Storage Hybrid Plants Becoming More Attractive in Maturing Wind and Solar Markets, Greentech Media

 

AFVs

Massachusetts Pursues New Climate Goals With Help From Local Clean Tech Industry, WGBH

Hydrogen Mobility: Coming Soon to a Bus or Truck Near You?, Greentech Media

EVs just got a boost from climate scientists worried about ride-hailing, Quartz

The Main Challenges For Electric Cars This Decade, Yahoo! Finance

 

Nuclear

When it comes to nuclear power, could smaller be better?, Grist

Nuclear energy storage? Advanced reactor developers trying to expand nuclear power’s selling points, Utility Dive

Ballot May Be Too Big For Non-Binding Question On Pilgrim, Falmouth Enterprise

Impact statement released for nuclear waste facility, Albuquerque Journal

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

National Grid’s plans are ‘onerously expensive and environmentally detrimental:’ NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York Daily News

Maine Ethics Commission votes 2-1 to investigate power line opponent, Portland Press Herald

Smart Meters Set for $30B Gusher of Investment Over Next 5 Years, Greentech Media

Eversource substation would add to E. Boston environmental problems, face flooding, critics say, Boston Globe

ISO-NE Study to Chart Transition to Future Grid, RTO Insider (subscriber content)

Utilities on high alert as phishing attempts, cyber probing spike related to Coronavirus, Utility Dive

Wind, solar and storage take up 95% of ISO-New England interconnection queue, marking ‘dramatic shift,’ Utility Dive

Opposition to new energy agency grows, Hudson Valley 360

Massive Senate Energy Bill Falters, Greentech Media

Does this tiny island off the coast of Maine hold the answer to the future of electricity,? Ensia.com

Workers At Massachusetts’ Largest Power Plant Go On Strike, WBUR

New Hampshire Senate digs deep into renewable energy policy, NH Business Review

Carbon Pricing Is Missing From a Bipartisan Energy Bill Expected to Pass the Senate, Barron’s

Power-line developers line up for an opportunity to ensure Boston’s lights stay on, Boston Globe

Lawmakers want to reassess fossil fuel breaks, Times Union

Maine regulators seek input on who should pay for CMP audit, Portland Press Herald

Eversource: Seacoast Reliability project nearing completion, Seacoastonline.com

New Microgrid Serving Mall in Brooklyn, N.Y. Supports Grid and Helps ConEd During Blackout, Microgrid Knowledge

New York power plant mines Bitcoin using excess energy, Engadget

 

Editorial/Opinion

Editorial: Independent review makes sense on Berkshire Gas moratorium, Amherst Bulletin

Column: State must switch to clean energy, Eagle-Tribune

Angry US landowners are killing off renewable energy projects, New York Post

Letter: Yarmouth solar energy purchase story misleading, Portland Press Herald

Editorial: Natural gas wrong for state’s power future, Connecticut Post

Why Don’t We Treat The Climate Crisis With The Same Urgency As Coronavirus,? WBUR

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Energy News for week ending March 6, 2020

Mystic Alternatives | P.I.s | Magic’s Uncharted Power

 

Happy Friday folks. Let’s dig in.

We start this week with a story from Jon Chesto at the Boston Globe, “Power-line developers line up for an opportunity to ensure Boston’s lights stay on. The pending closure of the giant Mystic power plant is a headache for the people charged with keeping electricity flowing in Greater Boston. But for power line developers, it’s a business opportunity. ISO New England, which oversees the region’s power grid, on Thursday said that eight developers submitted a total of 36 transmission proposals in a contest unprecedented in New England history. It boils down to this: Who can offer the best way to pick up the slack once Mystic goes away?… They know another massive power plant isn’t going up in Greater Boston anytime soon. So ISO is betting on improving transmission in the region instead to keep the juice flowing. Thus, a contest. Let the market decide: The winning bidder gets ratepayer subsidies from across New England to pay for the project…the region’s main electric utilities, National Grid and Eversource, released information about their submissions to the ISO for low-cost alternatives to Mystic. Each submitted four transmission proposals, with price tags from $48 million to $120 million… Executives at the two utilities say their proposals can be completed without a major new power line or the political headaches that usually accompany such projects…Meanwhile, the power line developer Anbaric submitted two bids involving its plan for an underwater line between the Mystic site and the shuttered Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth…One benefit to using the site of the old nuke plant: It’s a good place to soak up the electricity from offshore wind farms south of Martha’s Vineyard — if and when they finally get built — and channel that power directly to the Boston area.”

There was a lot of news out of Maine this week. County commissioners approve TIF agreement for wind project, The Quoddy Tides. From 0 to 60: Maine’s Solar Market Invigorated Under New Governor, Greentech Media. Opponents of CMP power line have enough signatures for referendum, secretary of state says, Portland Press Herald. Maine regulators reject Canadian company’s plan to buy Emera Maine, Bangor Daily News. And, Lawmakers continue talks on bill to make single consumer-owned utility, WABI.

However it was this story from Dennis Hoey at the Portland Press Herald that particularly caught our attention. “CMP private investigator tailed anti-corridor petitioners. A group that conducted a petition drive opposing a proposed 145-mile transmission line through rural Maine is criticizing Central Maine Power Co. for hiring a private investigator to track a female petitioner’s whereabouts and social media posts as she did her work. But Clean Energy Matters, a political action committee funded by CMP, said it hired the private investigator because it wanted to expose what it says was ‘illegal and unethical activity’ by the woman and eight other petition gatherers for No CMP Corridor – a group opposed to the transmission line. Clean Energy Matters contends its investigator did not specifically target the woman… Clean Energy Matters filed an affidavit with the Maine Secretary of State’s Office last month contending that ‘in addition to her work organizing, supervising and otherwise assisting in the petition gathering effort for the Opponents, documents in your possession will show that (the woman, whose name was redacted from the affidavit) also notarized hundreds, and possibly thousands, of petitions. Maine Election law is eminently clear that persons who notarize petitions for a citizen’s initiative cannot provide any other services… to get that initiative on the ballot,’ the affidavit said…The Secretary of State’s Office says Clean Energy Matters waited too long to bring the alleged signature-gathering violations to the state’s attention, according to a footnote attached to the press release Wednesday announcing that opponents had collected enough valid signatures. The office did not offer an opinion on the legality of the petitioners’ actions…Clean Energy Matters contends that hiring a private investigator to keep tabs on the activities of an opponent in such a campaign is a common practice. Campaign Director Jon Breed accused Howard of attempting to divert public attention from her group’s alleged law-breaking by using ‘CMP as the boogie man.’”

Last highlight for this week comes with a sports angle. From CNBC, “Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson has joined tech company Uncharted Power’s board of directors, the company told CNBC. Uncharted Power, a renewable energy technology company, was founded in 2011 by Jessica O. Matthews, who at age 19, invented SOCCKET, a soccer ball that converts kinetic energy into three hours of power for lighting after an hour of play. Matthews also created PULSE, a jump rope that can generate an hour of light after 15 minutes of use. In his new role, Johnson, 60, will expand Uncharted Power’s energy programs to U.S. communities…Matthews, now 32,  launched her company under the name Uncharted Play, but rebranded in 2017 to Uncharted Power as the company expanded. Matthews said the motivation to enter the energy infrastructure sector came from visiting family in Nigeria, where she discovered Africa’s energy issues. According to the International Energy Agency, 600 million people remain without access to electricity in sub- Saharan Africa. And more energy tech companies are showing up in Africa hoping to take advantage of its off-grid power market that is worth roughly $24 billion, according to a report by consulting firm Kleos Advisory. Uncharted Power says it’s ‘building the internet for decentralized energy’ and aims to create new energy sources through transforming sideways and roadways ‘into a smart, sustainable and accessible power network.’”

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to wash your hands – a lot!

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Lawmakers ask DOJ to divert settlement money, Salem News

Eversource purchase of Columbia Gas: Councilor Jesse Lederman calls for hearing in Springfield, MassLive

Gas disaster lawyers contest reduced fees, Eagle Tribune

Baker Cites ‘Real Benefits’ In Eversource-Columbia Gas Deal, WGBH

Trump says he’s ‘fighting’ New York to force gas pipeline, New York Post

Lawmakers Blast NRC for Faulty Analysis of Pipeline Near Plants, The Examiner News

Agency to check review of gas pipeline at NY nuclear plant after report, S&P Global

South Shore Residents Protest Compressor Station In Weymouth, CBS Local

Nathan Phillips, Who Went On Hunger Strike To Stop The Weymouth Compressor Station, Calls On Gov. Baker To Denounce The Project, WGBH

Protesters Temporarily Shut Down Work At National Grid Pipeline Construction Site In Brooklyn, CBS New York

The latest climate commitment from an oil company calls for more drilling, Quartz

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Cuomo wants more state control of solar, wind energy permits, The Buffalo News

Green hydrogen gets real as utility business models and delivery solutions emerge, Utility Dive

Why Hydrogen Stocks Are Soaring, OilPrice.com

Half of world’s sandy beaches at risk from climate change, AP News

‘Net zero’ emissions goal is attainable, advocates say, Telegram.com

E.P.A. Updates Plan to Limit Science Used in Environmental Rules, New York Times

The Congo rainforest is losing ability to absorb carbon dioxide. That’s bad for climate change., Washington Post

Here’s Why So Many People Are Mad at the Aquarium on Twitter, Boston Magazine

Virginia Moves Toward Joining Cap-and-Trade Program, NBC Washington

Brown University divests 90% of fossil fuel holdings, Pensions & Investments

Leading investor group tells companies to set out climate crisis plans, The Guardian

The Sea Is Getting Warmer. Will the Shrimp Get Louder?, Wired

A Renewable Energy Expert Tells Us How to Inspire Communities, Vice

CT offers its own version of Green New Deal, Connecticut Post

LA Lakers great Magic Johnson joins board of renewable energy start-up Uncharted Power, CNBC

 

Wind

New Jersey Sets 7.5GW Offshore Wind Solicitation Schedule, Offshorewind.biz

Wind-power developer opens 2nd R.I. office, Providence Journal

Deal for NB Power transmission of SJ wind farm energy is far from certain, CBC.ca

Offshore Wind to Attract More Than $200B Between 2020 and 2025, Greentech Media

County commissioners approve TIF agreement for wind project, The Quoddy Tides (Maine)

Hydro-Quebec Issues Call for Tenders For Wind Power Integration, North American Windpower

BCC gets $861,000 state grant to train students for wind energy jobs, Sun Chronicle

Vineyard Wind executive offers take on delayed start, Herald News

 

Solar

As Massachusetts solar installs plummet, stalled interconnections, land use questions are key hurdles, Utility Dive

From 0 to 60: Maine’s Solar Market Invigorated Under New Governor, Greentech Media

Solar surge: NY’s renewable energy push brings big project proposals to Cayuga County, Auburn Pub

Coronavirus Is Starting to Slow the Solar Energy Revolution, Bloomberg Green

Nashua leading the way for clean energy with three public solar projects now in operation, New Hampshire Union Leader

York landfill site scoped for solar power potential, Seacoastonline.com

Plans announced for $10M solar project in Strong, Sun Journal

Historic Tiverton barn likely headed for demolition as solar panel farm gets OK, Newport Daily News

Charlestown commission recommends denial of solar developer’s zoning request, Westerly Sun

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Major growth predicted for energy storage market, Digital Journal

Sustainable microgrids are the future of clean energy, TechCrunch

The Energy 202: How a powerful lobbying group got stricter energy efficiency codes out of a big Senate energy bill, Washington Post

NYC cracks down on building efficiency with new energy code, Utility Dive

Environmental Groups Sue U.S. Over Lightbulb Energy Standards, Wall St. Journal

NYC storage ‘most adversely impacted’ by FERC orders: NYISO CEO, Utility Dive

David Energy Raises $1.5M to Turn New York’s Buildings Into Energy Market Players, Greentech Media

Two Years In, New York’s Storage Market Has Grown ‘Faster Than We Expected,’ Utility Dive

 

EVs

State push to promote electric buses faces obstacles, Salem News

Beverly getting first electric school bus, Salem News

GM unveils 11 future EVs, new batteries and its plan to beat Tesla, Detroit Free Press

Electric refuse trucks on the road or on the way in rising number of states, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

NorthStar granted more time for radioactive shipments, Brattleboro Reformer

Former Energy Secretary, Deputy Discuss Nuclear Energy and Climate at IOP, The Crimson

Award Submission: Pilgrim Nuclear Shuts Down, Leaving Radioactive Waste and Unanswered Questions, WCAI (Audio)

Holtec underscores transparency at US plants, World Nuclear News

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Eversource, 7 others propose 36 ISO-NE transmission upgrades to offset loss of Exelon’s Mystic station, Utility Dive

Green Mountain Power’s pioneering steps in transactive energy raise big questions about DER’s value, Utility Dive

Comprehensive Senate energy bill draws industry, bipartisan support, but lags on tax credits, efficiency, Utility Dive

New Kind of Electrical Grid Could End Power Outages, Popular Mechanics

ISO-NE: States Must Lead on Carbon Pricing, RTO Insider (subscriber content)

Additional gas capacity, baseload generation ‘critical’ to maintaining reliability: DOE analysis, Utility Dive

ISO-NE presents final draft 2020 10-Year forecasts for heating electrification and light-duty electric vehicles, (Press Release) ISO-NE

Opponents of CMP power line have enough signatures for referendum, secretary of state says, Portland Press Herald

CMP private investigator tailed anti-corridor petitioners, Portland Press Herald

Energy Infrastructure Outlook Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak, Seeking Alpha

Fast-moving Senate energy bill draws dozens of amendments, Roll Call

Maine regulators reject Canadian company’s plan to buy Emera Maine, Bangor Daily News

Lawmakers continue talks on bill to make single consumer-owned utility, WABI

Consumer-owned utility bill meets Republican resistance, Portland Press Herald

 

Editorial/Opinion

Our View: Fine for gas disaster should stay local, Eagle Tribune

Closing the book on Columbia Gas’ sorry chapter, Lowell Sun

Letter to the editor: Wind is Maine’s ‘magic wand’ for cutting power costs, Portland Press Herald

Tom Hughes: Where TCI came from and where it can take us, VTDigger

Sandra Levine: Climate action for Vermonters, VTDigger

FAN: 2 Reasons Why Wind Power Is Expected To Dominate In 2020, Seeking Alpha

Op-Ed: RGGI Auction Proceeds Should Be Used to Fund Energy Efficiency Programs, NJ Spotlight

Andrew Cuomo’s latest power grab will let him ram through wind farms, New York Post

Turbines on lake are losing proposal, Observer

One advocate’s energy plan: Electrifying energy needs, Riverdale Press (NY)

Renewable debates may get too quiet, Observer

Guest opinion: P.E.I. wind farm not good for environment, Journal Pioneer

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Energy News for week ending February 28, 2020

Market Turmoil | $53M Fine | $1.1B Acquisition

TGIF

The spread of the coronavirus is impacting energy markets worldwide. We have gathered up several important stories as unease over the rapid spread of COVID-19 is continuing to drive markets.

After dominating the energy news for well over a year, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts has agreed pay a $53 million fine as part of a guilty plea to a felony violation of the Pipeline Safety Act. On Wednesday the company took “full responsibility for the tragic events of September 13, 2018, that so impacted our customers throughout the Merrimack Valley.”

On Wednesday evening, Eversource Energy, announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ natural gas assets from its parent company, NiSource, for $1.1 billion. NiSource will cease doing business in the Commonwealth and profits from the sale will be turned over to the federal government under the agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Have a great weekend!

Coronavirus and Energy

Coronavirus cuts Chinese carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, Ars Technica

Blue skies return to China as coronavirus cuts coal consumption, NIKKEI

Coronavirus Is Starting to Slow the Solar Energy Revolution, Bloomberg

Climate and Coronavirus Dominate Oil Industry’s Biggest Summit, Bloomberg

Oil falls for fifth day on demand concerns as coronavirus spreads, CNBC

Trump Insists on Paying for Coronavirus Prep by Cutting Heating Aid for the Poor, New York Magazine

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Final Approval Expected In $143 Million Columbia Gas Explosions Settlement, CBS Boston / WBZ

Columbia Gas plea puts spotlight on the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, MassLive

Columbia Gas agrees to plead guilty in deadly 2018 Massachusetts explosions and leave the state, feds say, CNN

Rivera: Fine should go to gas disaster victims, Eagle-Tribune

National Grid offers options to meet projected gas supply constraints, Newsday

Natural gas ransomware attack offers critical lessons for electric utilities, analysts say, Utility Dive

Legislators ask federal regulators to inspect compressor site, Patriot Ledger

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

The Key to New York’s Green Dreams May Be Turning Quebec Into a Mega-Battery, Bloomberg Green

Voters Really Care About Climate Change, The Atlantic

On Rising Great Lakes, Backyards Are Disappearing Overnight, Wall St. Journal

Cape coalition asks towns to declare ‘climate change emergency,’  Cape Cod Times

Climate change could be a ‘catastrophic’ national security threat, report warns, USA Today

New York Governor Takes Aim at State’s Onerous Renewables Permitting Regime, Greentech Media

Niagara County forming group to confront large-scale energy projects, Niagara Gazette

Wind

US offshore wind is ‘currently uneconomical,’ ReNews.biz

New wind turbine project in Washington County approved by Commissioners, WABI (Maine)

Permitting for big wind farms could get a lot faster under new Cuomo proposals, North Country Public Radio

Greentown Labs, Vineyard Wind Expand Offshore Wind Innovation, North America Windpower

How Goes It? Report from Block Island About Their Offshore Wind Farm, Dan’s Papers

Solar

R.I. encourages solar panels as canopies on parking lots. Will that really steer solar farms away from forests and other open spaces?, Providence Journal

House Bill Would Require Homeowners Associations To Allow Solar Installations, New Hampshire Public Radio

The Solar Industry’s New Power Player: Oil Majors, Greentech Media

Energy Efficiency/Storage

NJ’s Two Biggest Utilities Finish Near Bottom on New Energy-Efficiency Scorecard, NJ Spotlight

Massachusetts policies help Eversource, National Grid lead on energy efficiency while Southeast lags: ACEEE, Utility Dive

The Key to New York’s Green Dreams May Be Turning Quebec Into a Mega-Battery, Bloomberg

EVs

Transportation is ‘climate enemy #1’ — EVs and behavioral changes are the answers: report, Utility Dive

 How to maximize the life of your electric car’s battery, according to science, Mashable

A Cobalt Crisis Could Put the Brakes on Electric Car Sales, Wired

Nuclear

NDCAP not reassured by NRC claims about Pilgrim Station decommissioning, Wicked Local Plymouth

The US government insurance scheme for nuclear power plant accidents no longer makes sense, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Eversource to buy Columbia Gas for $1.1B; expects to work with regulators and consumer groups over 30 days, MassLive

Eversource exec says restoring trust top priority following Columbia Gas purchase, Boston Herald

Firm did ‘independent study’ of electric line while working for energy giant that could make billions from it, Bangor Daily News

Solar and wind power are pushing down electricity prices in New England, but carbon fuels still dominate, Hartford Courant

LePage says he was paid to advocate for hydropower corridor, Portland Press Herald

Power Opposed, The Telegraph

Editorial/Opinion

Would You Pay Higher Gas Prices to Slow the Climate Crisis?, New York Times

Coronavirus Sickens an Ailing Energy Bond Market, Bloomberg

 

 

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Energy News for week ending February 21, 2020

Lunch conversation | WSJ Series | Nuclear Waste

 

Happy Friday folks.

We start this week with an article by Spencer Buell of Boston Magazine that recaps his conversation with Professor Nathan Phillips on his hunger strike over the Weymouth Compressor Station. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, we think it makes for interesting reading.

No recap for this, but if you have access check out the Wall St. Journal’s series on the Future of Everything related to energy. It’s a positive look at the future. All of the links are embedded below but here are a couple that are particularly cool: To store the wind and sun, energy startups look to gravity and What’s next for the energy grid.

And for our new tech feature we bring you a story from Grist, “The power plant of the future could run on nuclear waste. A California-based start-up’s plans to develop a power plant that can turn nuclear waste into energy just took a big step closer to reality. The company, Oklo, got a permit in December to build the next-generation power plant at the Idaho National Laboratory, in Idaho Falls. The lab announced Wednesday that it will also provide Oklo with fuel — the waste products of a nuclear reactor. The Oklo design is for a small plant providing up to 1.5 megawatts of electricity — enough to power about 1,000 homes — which operates like a long-lasting battery, without the need for a team of operators or refueling for 20 years.”

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

My Lunch with the Hunger Striker Who Took on Charlie Baker, Boston Magazine

More than a dozen arrested at Weymouth compressor station protest, Patriot Ledger

State regulators won’t do more asbestos testing at Weymouth compressor site, Wicked Local

Bow power plant wins funding through 2024, Concord Monitor

Demonstrators protest National Grid’s fracked gas pipeline in Williamsburg, MSN

Fossil Fuel Emissions Contribute More Methane Than Previously Estimated, Discover Magazine

National Grid is Raising Rates in Order to Build a Fracked-Gas Pipeline in Brooklyn, The Indypendent

Explosions, health risks, higher bills: Why North Brooklyn residents are fighting this project., Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Transocean: The Offshore Drilling Industry Is In Crisis But Is Not Gone, Seeking Alpha

Yale faculty meeting to discuss school’s ethical obligation on fossil fuel investment, WTNH

Climate activists have a target: Harvard’s endowment, Boston Globe

Vermont Gas seeks 2.9% rate increase, VTDigger

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

How Clean Is Massachusetts’ Clean Peak Rule? Not So Much, New Study Says, Greentech Media

Baker’s push to curb emissions draws a familiar foe: his own party, Boston Globe

FERC rules clean energy must pay higher market price in New York, Reuters

Boston harbor brings ashore a new enemy: Rising seas, Washington Post

Methane is a hard-hitting greenhouse gas. Now scientists say we’ve dramatically underestimated how much we’re emitting, Washington Post

Growing bricks and more ways to shrink concrete’s carbon footprint, Wall St. Journal

Researchers Debate Whether Global Emissions Have Peaked, Bloomberg Green

Turning the tide: South Shore legislators are on the front lines of climate change, Patriot Ledger

Baker Administration Planning Rule To Ban Hydrofluorocarbon, WBUR

Google Spinout Dandelion Energy Ramps Up Home Geothermal Installations, Greentech Media

Energy from air: UMass researchers develop device that generates electricity from humidity, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Senators consider requiring utilities to buy more local renewables, VT Digger

ITC Probing Economic Impact of Renewable Goals, Imports to New England, Power Magazine

‘With so much coast and so little land, R.I. is the most vulnerable state in New England’, Boston Globe

ITC To Probe Economic Effect Of Renewable Energy In Mass.. Law360

 

Wind

Vineyard Wind facing lots of hurdles, CommonWealth Magazine

Report: Utilities raised concerns on Mayflower, CommonWealth Magazine

Plymouth health board reviewing wind turbines on Bourne line, Wicked Local Plymouth

Sununu wants offshore wind farm, The Telegraph

MONTI: Ocean wind farms good for fishing, but dialogue needs balance, Sun Chronicle

In ritzy East Hampton, the biggest hurdle to offshore wind is a single cable, Politico

Right Whale Protection At Heart Of New Vineyard Wind Partnership, WGBH

Wind energy gives American farmers a new crop to sell in tough times, USA Today

 

Solar

Cash-strapped farms are growing a new crop: Solar panels, Grist

Nautilus Solar acquires 3.5-MW Superfund community solar project, Solar Power World

More efficient photocatalysts could unlock the potential of solar energy, Phys.org

CT solar jobs hold steady as U.S. industry stems losses | Hartford Business Journal, Hartford Business

New world record for conversion of solar energy to electricity using quantum dots, Science Daily

The path to market for perovskites, pv magazine International

Portland council endorses solar initiative with 8-0 vote, Portland Press Herald

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Three Innovations To Upend The Energy Storage Market, YAHOO!

To store the wind and sun, energy startups look to gravity, Wall St. Journal

Yale Divinity School receives $15 million for energy-neutral Living Village, New Haven Register

 

EVs

The Carmaker Putting Solar Panels on Its Electric Vehicles, Greentech Media

 

Nuclear

The power plant of the future could run on nuclear waste, Grist

When It Comes to Nuclear Power, Could Smaller Be Better?, Yale Environment 360

France Shuts Oldest Reactors, But Nuclear Power Still Reigns, International Business Times

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

RTOs need better market signals for using gas, analysts say, as ISO-NE preps related rule, Utility Dive

What’s next for the energy grid, Wall St. Journal

The key to keeping the lights on: artificial intelligence, Wall St. Journal

Public takeover of Maine’s electric utilities could bring higher rates, tax revenue losses, Portland Press Herald

Grid secures future power commitments at low price, CommonWealth Magazine

CMP brings back former CEO with a mission to ‘restore public trust,’ Bangor Daily News

Panel endorses bill requiring CMP to renegotiate lease along corridor route, Portland Press Herald

US State Energy Policies and Power Utility Regulation, Greentech Media

Energy-capacity auction results in record low New England price | Hartford Business Journal, Hartford Business

Consumer-owned utility proposed to replace CMP to be discussed in Kittery, Seacoastonline.com

Northern Pass losses zap Eversource Energy’s 2019 earnings, Stamford Advocate

Utilities don’t see stranded assets as a top risk. Should they?, Utility Dive

 

Editorial/Opinion

Hunger and the clean energy transition, CommonWealth Magazine

Physicians critique National Grid official’s stance, CommonWealth Magazine

Why States Need to Ban New Gas Hookups in Buildings (in 5 Charts), Greentech Media

Commentary: ‘To get the carbon out,’ Maine should look to energy from wood fiber, Portland Press Herald

Commentary: Regional climate collaboration is a critical policy debate – not just political division, Portland Press Herald

Columnist Johanna Neumann: Proposed gas rule is off the rails, Daily Hampshire Gazette

For gas utilities, voluntary RNG programs can play an important role on the path to decarbonization, Utility Dive

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

Energy News for week ending February 14, 2020

Record Low Price | More Delays | Clear Solar

 

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Let’s start off with some news to love. From Bloomberg Green, “Shell, EDP Set Record-Low Price for U.S. Offshore Wind Power. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and EDP Renovaveis SA agreed to sell power from a wind farm they’re building in the Atlantic Ocean for a record-low price. The 804-megawatt Mayflower wind farm, located south of Martha’s Vineyard, will supply electricity to utilities in Massachusetts for $58 a megawatt-hour over the life of the contract. That’s less than a previous deal for $65 agreed to with the similarly located 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project, state energy officials said on a conference call Tuesday. ‘The Commonwealth has now solicited two cost-effective projects at prices far below what industry experts had projected a few years ago,’ Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs for Massachusetts, said on the call. Wholesale electricity prices averaged $40.24 a megawatt-hour in day-ahead trading in the New England grid over the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offshore wind costs are higher, but the renewable technology is gaining in use in Europe and Asia, driving down the lifetime sales prices.”

Next up #Absencemakestheheartgrowfonder. From WBUR, “Vineyard Wind Announces New Delay In Offshore Wind Project. Vineyard Wind no longer expects its 800-megawatt project to become operational by 2022, the company said Tuesday after federal officials announced a new — and longer-than-anticipated — timeline for their review of the project and offshore wind sector generally. ‘We have received updated information from the Department of Interior that indicates the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Vineyard Wind I project will be published later than what was previously anticipated,’ Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said in a statement. ‘While we need to analyze what a longer permitting timeline will mean for beginning construction, commercial operation in 2022 is no longer expected. We look forward to the clarity that will come with a final EIS so that Vineyard Wind can deliver this project to Massachusetts and kick off the new US offshore energy industry.’ On Tuesday, BOEM published a new ‘one federal decision permitting timeline,’ which envisions the issuance of a record of decision by Dec. 18, 2020.”

While this new technology was modeled using tomatoes, perhaps it will work with roses too. From Futurity.org, “Clear Solar Panel Could Power Future Greenhouses. Greenhouses of the future could become energy neutral using see-through solar panels to harvest energy, according to a new study. The panels would harvest the energy primarily from the wavelengths of light that plants don’t use for photosynthesis, the researchers say. ‘Plants only use some wavelengths of light for photosynthesis, and the idea is to create greenhouses that make energy from that unused light while allowing most of the photosynthetic band of light to pass through,’ says corresponding author Brendan O’Connor, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University…The end result is that, for many greenhouse operators, the trade-off could be a small one—particularly for greenhouses in warm or temperate climates. For example, in Arizona, the greenhouses could become energy neutral—requiring no outside source of power—while blocking only 10% of the photosynthetic band of light. However, if growers are willing to block more photosynthetic light, they could generate twice as much energy as they required to operate the greenhouse…In Wisconsin, greenhouses couldn’t become energy neutral using the semitransparent solar cells—keeping the greenhouse warm in winter requires too much energy. However, the solar cells could meet up to 46% of the greenhouse’s energy demand.”

That’s the recap for this week. Enjoy the long weekend.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Why fossil-fuel generators oppose the CMP hydropower corridor, Bangor Daily News

Area residents criticize Columbia Gas at hearing, Eagle Tribune

‘I Feel Victorious’: BU Professor Ends Hunger Strike Over Weymouth Compressor, WBUR

United in Opposition to the No. Weymouth Gas Compressor Station, Boston University

Iroquois Gas to build system in Milford to help increase New York’s natural gas supply, Stamford Advocate

Oil production on public lands exceeds 1 billion barrels, The Hill

Carbon capture wins fans among oil giants, Wall St. Journal

Pennsylvania shale permits plunge in January as gas prices collapse, S&P Global

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

Want Unlimited Clean Energy? Just Drill the World’s Hottest Well, Wired

Geothermal heating district could rise in Mattapan, Boston Globe

The fastest way to cut carbon emissions is a ‘fee’ and a dividend, top leaders say, Washington Post

Energy Markets Need Winter, and Climate Change Is Taking It Away, Bloomberg Green

Antarctica Sets Record High Temperature: 64.9 Degrees, New York Times

Net-zero emissions measures advance despite cost concerns in Mass. Senate, Telegram & Gazette

Attleboro area senators say climate change legislation could empower cities, towns, Sun Chronicle

Gov. Charlie Baker: TCI proceeds will not be ‘pumped into Boston’ to pay off MBTA debt, MassLive

A Trillion Trees: How One Idea Triumphed Over Trump’s Climate Denialism, New York Times

Why university students are uniting for divestment this week, Boston Globe

Climate Change: 50 Ways We’re Taking Action Now, Vineyard Gazette

Researchers Propose New Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change, Clean Tech

For Sweetgreen, 2020 is the year kelp becomes cool, Washington Post

Hundreds of freshwater fish wash ashore on Easton’s Beach in Newport, ABC6

Why concrete has a huge carbon footprint, CNN (video)

The Climate Crisis Is Threatening Bees. Here’s What’s Helping To Save Them., HuffPost

Crossing the Line: A Scientist’s Road From Neutrality to Activism, Inside Climate News

The Cool Way Scientists Turned Falling Raindrops Into Electricity, Popular Mechanics

 

Wind

Good news, bad news on offshore wind, CommonWealth Magazine

Vineyard Wind Announces New Delay In Offshore Wind Project, WBUR

Price of wind power continues to fall with Mayflower contract, Herald News

Shell, EDP Set Record-Low Price for U.S. Offshore Wind Power, Bloomberg

Mayflower Wind will stage in New Bedford: 2nd wind turbine company looking for lease agreement for South Terminal, South Coast Today

Wind farm cables to be lengthened for reburial, Block Island Times

Connecticut Port Authority approves plan to turn State Pier into wind hub, The Day

Gov. Ned Lamont touts approval of wind power deal that will rebuild State Pier in New London while Senate Republicans complain about a lack of oversight, Hartford Courant

Some Fans, Some Not, for Wind Farm Project, Ocean City New Jersey Daily

Red lights on Lowell Mountains won’t dim soon, National Wind Watch (via Hardwick, VT Gazette)

Court filing challenges Guilford wind farm approval, Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin

 

Solar

Researchers develop a roadmap for growth of new solar cells, MIT News

Clear solar panels could power future greenhouses, Futurity.org

Fitch: Solar Projects Much More Reliable Performers Than Wind Farms, Greentech Media

Green Bank’s Solar MAP Eases Solar Transition, Solar Industry Magazine

Why Cheap Solar Could Save the World, NPR

Report: Vermont lagging in solar capacity, Rutland Herald

Chemist develops technique to improve solar cells, Phys.org

Firm lays out plans for large solar farm, maybe sheep, Portland Press Herald

Yarmouth committee recommends purchase of ‘remote’ solar energy, Portland Press Herald

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

MIT’s solid-state battery breakthrough may see phones last for days, New Atlas

Live Efficient: Choose Energy Star appliances for efficiency, Seacoastonline.com

BPU Plan Would Reimburse Utilities for Sales Lost to Energy Efficiency Programs, NJ Spotlight

$58M project to make Portsmouth Naval Shipyard energy resilient, Seacoast Online

 

EVs

ChargePoint commits $1B to expand EV charging as Ocasio-Cortez, others unveil bills for a national network, Utility Dive

ConEd developing $13M curbside EV charging program with AddEnergie, Utility Dive

 

Nuclear

NRC Extends Comment Period Regarding Indian Point, WAMC

The U.S. May Soon Have the World’s Oldest Nuclear Power Plants, Bloomberg

How the next generation of nuclear reactors could be smaller, greener and safer, PBS

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Advanced Attack Groups Increasingly Threaten North American Electric Utilities, Security Boulevard

Massachusetts has 3rd highest number of deaths from out-of-state air pollution, study finds, Boston Globe

GAO urged to probe energy project ‘double standard’, Telegram & Gazette

The U.S. power grid desperately needs upgrades to handle climate change, Science News

Company that studied grid may have had conflict of interest, Associated Press

Midwinter drop in energy costs gives Mainers unexpected relief, Kennebec Journal

AARP opposes Eversource’s proposed rate hikes, New Hampshire Union Leader

Expanding or starting a business? National Grid may have a grant for that, Business Journals

 

Editorial/Opinion

Jennifer Benson: Senate’s climate change proposal a good start, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Erect solar panels in places that make sense, The Day

State council, residents ready to take action on climate change, Portland Press Herald

Letter: Some help in connecting the air quality dots, Westerly Sun

Maine Compass: It’s time to reconsider going solar, Kennebec Journal

Susan Raymond: Sununu’s energy initiatives are a grand election stunt, Conway Daily Sun

Maine Compass: Don’t expect Maine ‘public power’ plan to deliver on its big promises, Kennebec Journal

Falmouth Turns Into A 2.5 Million Wind Turbine Dump, Patch.com

Pier remake could cost state three times $93 million estimate, The Day via National Wind Watch

New Massachusetts Program A Threat To Local Solar Installers, AltEnergyMag.com

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