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Energy News for week ending January 26, 2018

Northern Pass Wins it All | A Disaster | Wind to Beat Hydro

 

Happy sunny Friday.

 

Some of the biggest anticipated news this week was the selection of winning bids in Massachusetts’ Section 83D RFP. What was interesting is that there was just one winner. Eversource’s Northern Pass project to bring Canadian hydro to New England beat out dozens of other bidders. From WBUR, “’We had a lot of good options and this is the one that rose to the top,’ said Judith Judson, Massachusetts’ commissioner of energy resources. Evaluators determined the project would provide the ‘greatest overall value,’ to the state’s electric ratepayers, she added. When completed, the line is expected to deliver the equivalent of 17 percent of the state’s current electric load.” Not everyone is happy about the choice though. See below for statements released by several energy and environmental organizations. And as the Boston Globe article notes, years of litigation is possible.

 

From the Worcester Telegram, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and the Environment, Matthew Beaton speaking to the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change on Wednesday, reported that “During the frigid 15 days between Christmas and Jan. 9, power generators in Massachusetts burned about 2 million barrels of oil — more than twice the amount of oil they burned during all of 2016. ‘Economically, this is a disaster for us in New England. Equally as important, environmentally the emissions and the profiles of what occurred in this timeframe is nothing but a disaster,’ Beaton said. He added, ‘We can’t ignore this and I think this has to be part of an honest conversation of how we look at the challenges facing our system.’” One of the answers seems to be Siberian gas (Boston Globe).

The EIA released its short-term energy outlook this week and as the Daily Energy Insider reported the EIA revealed that “natural gas will hold its lead as the top supplier of electricity in the United States over the next two years.” However, as Utility Dive notes, the EIA also predicts that wind will beat hydro as leading US renewable resource in the same time frame.

We have a good number of articles below on Trump’s 30 percent solar tariff that was announced this week including one from Greentech Media that asks, Did Trump’s Solar Tariffs Just Launch a US Manufacturing Renaissance? And from the “Jetson’s” category we have a few articles on electric vehicles, including barges (The Guardian) and planes (Greentech Media) and another from Bloomberg that reveals, Off-the-Shelf Nuclear Plants Could Soon Help Power Electric Cars.

That’s it for this week. As always, be sure to check out Northeast Energy News for events. Have a great weekend.

 

83D

Mass. Taps Eversource’s Northern Pass For Hydropower Project, WBUR

Baker goes with Eversource’s Northern Pass, CommonWealth Magazine

Eversource wins big contract to build power line project through New Hampshire, Boston Globe

Northern Pass prevails in Mass. Clean Energy RFP, handing victory to Eversource and Hydro-Quebec, MassLive

Northern Pass wins entire Massachusetts clean energy bid process, Concord Monitor

Massachusetts Picks Northern Pass For Major Energy Contract, Maine Public

NEPGA Statement

NECEC Statement

RENEW Northeast Statement

CLF Statement

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

As Siberian gas awaits US landing, a second ship may be coming, Boston Globe

The end of natural gas is near, GreenBiz

EIA expects natural gas to hold lead as source for electricity generation through 2019, Daily Energy Insider

AG opposes gas-pipeline price break for new Back Bay high rise, Universal Hub

Pipeline advocates renew calls for expansion, MetroWest Daily News

Invenergy withdraws lawsuit challenging power-plant connection costs, The Providence Journal

Invenergy Ends Water Deal With Narragansett Indian Tribe, Rhode Island Public Radio

Invenergy Lawyer Accuses Town of Burrillville of Lying, ecoRI news

Pipeline in Holyoke stirs up conversation, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Massive oil burn during cold snap a ‘disaster,’ says Beaton, Worcester Telegram

New England About To Get Liquefied Natural Gas From Unusual Source, NewBostonPost

 

Renewables/Climate Change/RGGI

The trouble with Trump leaving climate change to the military, Vox.com

EPA loosens Clean Air Act rules for major pollution sources, Utility Dive

CT’s clean energy edge: Going, going . . . or coming back?, The CT Mirror

RI Environment Council Focused on Climate Change, ecoRI news

State Lawmakers Not Just Blowing Smoke About Rejoining RGGI, NJ Spotlight

City Council aims for 100 percent green, Daily Hampshire Gazette

 

Wind

EIA: Wind to beat hydro as leading US renewable resource in next 2 years, Utility Dive

A small town in SLC just got cut from a multimillion-dollar wind deal. Its reaction? “Relief.”, NCPR

Baker mentions offshore wind project in speech, Martha’s Vineyard Times

Vineyard wind takes more comment from the public, Cape Cod Times

LePage blocks new wind energy projects, creates secretive commission to study impacts, Press Herald

World’s biggest wind farm would have its own artificial island, NBCNews.com

Getting to ‘head-spinning’ low prices for US offshore wind, Utility Dive

 

Solar

Trump issues 30% tariff on solar imports, Utility Dive

Will utilities keep investing in solar after Trump’s tariffs?, Utility Dive

Mass. solar industry ‘just got a hit in the nose’ from Trump’s new tariff, (subscriber content) Boston Business Journal

Critics say Eversource’s new fee casts a shadow on solar power, Boston Globe

Will the Eversource rate design that DER advocates couldn’t stop slow the Massachusetts solar boom?, Utility Dive

Did Trump’s Solar Tariffs Just Launch a US Manufacturing Renaissance?, Greentech Media

At Davos, Gore defends Trump solar tariff: report, Fox News

Solar groups balk at DPU Eversource decision, Trump tariffs, The Recorder

Massachusetts “SMART” Rates to Boost Community Solar, (press release) Energy Central

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

A better battery? MIT researchers say discovery could improve storage of energy from wind, sun, Boston Globe

Saving Watts to Save Drops: Inclusion of Water Efficiency in Energy Efficiency Programs, (report) ACEEE

6 months after target adoption, Massachusetts sees energy storage growth, challenges, Utility Dive

Dover, Sherborn join Green Communities, Wicked Local Dover

Nissan announces energy storage solution using solar, Energy Digital

 

Electric Transportation

‘Every New Vehicle Will Be Electric’ by 2025, Disruption Expert Says, Renewable Energy World

World’s first electric container barges to sail from European ports this summer, The Guardian

How many electric cars can the grid take? Depends on your neighborhood, arstechnica.com

Electric Airplanes Could Remake Aviation, Greentech Media (Audio)

 

Nuclear

Can We Make A Nuclear Reactor That Won’t Melt Down?, Forbes.com

State Nuclear Bailout Lawsuit Moves Forward, NY Law Journal

Vermont Yankee sale settlement may be imminent, vtdigger.org

Off-the-Shelf Nuclear Plants Could Soon Help Power Electric Cars, Bloomberg

CT to move ahead with nuke power auction, Hartford Business Journal

Indian Point: Owners, workers reach tentative deal, The Journal News

Dominion’s Millstone nuclear plant could warrant subsidies, draft report says, Utility Dive

NextEra: Nuclear plant operator ‘uncompromising’ with safety, Gloucester Daily Times

Vermont Yankee fuel plan gets environmental OK, vtdigger.org

Report: Nukes should be allowed to compete with wind, solar, Penn Energy

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Milford power plant gets a boost, Milford Daily News

Attleboro area electricity collaborative renews contract, Sun Chronicle

FERC Denies New England Tx Owners ROE Rehearing, RTO Insider

FERC, RTOs: Grid Performed Better in Jan. Cold Snap vs. 2014, RTO Insider

ISO New England power study highlights fuel-security risks, Daily Energy Insider

New England Energy Grid Pushed To Brink During Recent Cold Snaps, Vermont Public Radio

Eversource customers could see another rate increase, WFSB

Advocacy groups oppose National Grid rate hike, Albany Times Union

Brayton Point sale price: $8.5 million, Herald News

State investigates National Grid’s storm response, Gloucester Times

Everett sues Baker administration to nix tax deal for power plant, Boston Globe

In Quebec, it’s power versus a people on hydroelectricity, Boston Globe

Van Welie takes energy analysis to Capitol Hill, CommonWealth Magazine

Will the New Solar Tariffs Hurt the Microgrid Industry? Yes and No, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Editorial/Opinion

Our Opinion: Unintended consequences of solar panel tariff, Berkshire Eagle

Union: Money is clouding CLF’s judgment, CommonWealth Magazine

What’s happened to CLF?, CommonWealth Magazine

CLF denies financial ties to TDI, CommonWealth Magazine

To the Editor: CLF has a conflict of interest, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Maine Compass: State has reached its limit on wind power, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

COLUMN-Commentary: A tale of a tanker, Russian gas, sanctions and energy politics, Reuters

Trusting industry to police industry standards leads to lasting harm, (nuclear) Commons

Editorial: Murphy says yes to RGGI and no to Christie, NorthJersey.com

How US Tariffs Will Hurt America’s Solar Industry,  New York Times

YOUR VIEW: The outrageously high cost for energy in Massachusetts is an issue that matters, SouthCoastToday.com

LETTER: Climate change demands voices be heard at State House, Wicked Local Cambridge

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Filed under Climate Change, Electric Grid, Energy Efficiency, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, Renewables, Vermont Yankee Closing

Energy News for week ending January 19, 2018

Fuel Security Risk | Climate solution | New EV infrastructure | KRUSTY

Happy Friday Afternoon.

Just when I think, “Gee it’s been a quiet week for energy news…” BOOM! ISO-New England drops its Operational Fuel-Security Analysis and the energy news board lights up. RTO Insider writes, “The report highlighted the concern that New England’s system reliability is heavily dependent on LNG and electricity imports. While dual-fuel capability for plants can provide a key contribution to reliability, permitting for construction and emissions is difficult. All but four scenarios resulted in fuel shortages requiring rolling blackouts, indicating the trends affecting the system may intensify the region’s fuel security risk.”

The report generated no shortage of opinions about what it all means and how it affects the future of New England’s energy grid. CommonWealth Magazine reported, “The two sides fighting over whether the region needs additional natural gas pipeline capacity both took comfort on Thursday from a fuel security study by the operator of the region’s power grid. The Baker administration, meanwhile, issued a statement that appeared to fall somewhere in the middle while supporting ‘additional natural gas capacity.’” According to the article, the pro- gas pipeline side says rolling black outs “would wreak havoc on the economy and New Englanders’ lives.” Those not in favor of pipeline development say, hold on, the scenarios outlined in the report “are perhaps possible but highly unlikely.” I’m sure we’ll have a lot more articles and opinion pieces on this topic in the week ahead.

Also out this week was an announcement reported by the AP in Time Magazine that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Kingdom’s meteorological office said that 2017 was the third hottest year on record. At the same time, NASA and researchers from a nonprofit in Berkeley, California, called it the second. So what’s a state or nation to do? Utility Dive takes a long look at cap and trade initiatives in New England and California to see if those programs are having a positive effect, but ultimately decides, the jury is still out.

One way to help ease climate change is to get more EVs on the road. The New Hampshire Business Review brings us a great read titled, “New Hampshire, Northeast states mull building Quebec-to-D.C., EV charging network.” The money to pay for this 734 mile network would largely come from Volkswagen settlement funds. Journalist Liisa Rajala writes, “In New England alone, approximately $214 million was paid by Volkswagen to fund programs that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, with up to $32 million available for investment in electric vehicle charging stations over the next 10 years, should states choose to do so.” They include some great infographics in the article as well. Check it out.

Last highlight for this week is a story from Reuters about KRUSTY and it’s out of this world! “Initial tests in Nevada on a compact nuclear power system (The Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology — KRUSTY) designed to sustain a long-duration NASA human mission on the inhospitable surface of Mars have been successful and a full-power run is scheduled for March…The technology could power habitats and life-support systems, enable astronauts to mine resources, recharge rovers and run processing equipment to transform resources such as ice on the planet into oxygen, water and fuel. It could also potentially augment electrically powered spacecraft propulsion systems on missions to the outer planets.” Wow! Now that’s cool.

That’s it for this week. As always, be sure to check out Northeast Energy News for events. Have a great weekend and Go Pats!

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Generators burned 2m barrels of oil over 15 days, CommonWealth Magazine

Pipeline advocates renew calls for expansion as grid operator warns of future blackouts, Wicked Local Scituate

Upset over Burrillville’s opposition to proposed power plant, Invenergy withholds fee payment, The Providence Journal

RI Attorney General Speaks Out Against Proposed Burrillville Power Plant, Rhode Island Public Radio

Regunberg introduces resolution opposing Trump’s off-shore drilling plans, Uprise RI

FERC: Rhode Island tribe missed its chance to intervene in Massachusetts pipeline fight, MassLive.com

Fight is on to block Maine pipeline — ex-Texan says: Good luck with that, The Boston Globe

Rover Pipeline Spills Another 150000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid Into Ohio Wetlands, EcoWatch

Grid operator says new study shows need to expand access to natural gas in New England, New Haven Register

Compressor station foes encouraged by feds’ response to New York project, Patriot Ledger

Governor: Scrub NY from plan to expand offshore oil drilling, Penn Energy

Fixation on timing of peak oil is ‘misguided,’ Financial Times

 

Renewables Policy/Climate Change/RGGI

2017 Was One of the Hottest Years Ever, Time Magazine

Is cap and trade the climate solution? The jury’s still out, Utility Dive

Northampton officials show support for local goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy, MassLive

RGGI States Set a New Standard for Climate Action in 2017, Natural Resources Defense Council

Massachusetts agrees to slash power plant emissions under 9-state system, MassLive.com

Maryland, northeast states accelerate carbon pollution reduction, Baltimore Sun

Power generators contest state greenhouse gas rules, Boston Globe

Gov. Murphy plays to NJ environmentalists from day one, NJ Spotlight

The Force Is With Clean Energy: 10 Predictions for 2018, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Competition Moderates Clean-Energy Costs for Ratepayers, AIM Blog

New York, Connecticut sue EPA for failing to act on smog pollution from upwind states, Utility Dive

US Utility-Scale Solar, Wind Capacity Could Double by 2020, Renewable Energy World

Global emissions ‘will plateau by 2030,’ Energy Live News

 

Wind

Turbines blow hot, cold on financial benefits for local towns, Worcester Telegram

Why Some Fishermen Are Wary Of Offshore Wind Farms, WBUR

US Working Hard to Boost Wind Energy, Adviser Says in Denmark, Bloomberg

Wind Industry Embraces Robots to Boost Safety, Cut Costs, Greentech Media

Vineyard Wind to hold open house on proposed offshore project, Cape Cod Times

 

Solar

On Haverhill landfill-solar proposal, council wants results, Eagle Tribune

CMP’s New CEO: If They Want, ‘Everyone Should Put Solar Panels On Their Roof’, Maine Public

Developer for proposed solar project in New Marlborough wants public’s input on project, Berkshire Eagle

Outer Cape Energize encourages use of solar panels, Cape Cod Times

New warehouse now biggest green energy provider in Peabody, The Salem News

 

Electric Vehicles

New Hampshire, Northeast states mull building Quebec-to-D.C., EV charging network, NH Business Review

North America’s largest transit system is the acid test for electric buses, Quartz

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

State money helps Massachusetts towns improve energy efficiency, SouthCoastToday.com

There once was an energy storage system on Nantucket…, Utility Dive

Energy Storage Can Drive Future Tesla Growth, Not Just Autos, Seeking Alpha

 

Nuclear

U.S. tests nuclear power system to sustain astronauts on Mars, Reuters

PUC sticks with Yankee hearings postponement, Rutland Herald

Merrimac seeks NRC hearing on Seabrook plan, Gloucester Daily Times

Indian Point Utility Workers Will Strike If Contract Talks Break Down, WAMC

Offsetting Loss of Indian Pt Revenue Still Challenge One Year Later, The Examiner News

War of words over Millstone escalates as final regulatory decision nears, Litchfield County Times

 

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

Energy study draws divergent reactions, CommonWealth Magazine

Report: Fuel Security Key Risk for New England Grid, RTO Insider

What Will Become of the Electric Utility in the Age of Microgrids?, Microgrid Knowledge

Oversubscribed northern Vermont power grid costing utilities millions, VT Digger

D-Day Approaches for Northern Pass, IndepthNH.org

National Grid’s Northern Pass Competitor To Talk Low-Income Benefits In Concord, New Hampshire Public Radio

Eversource Ranked Among Nation’s Greenest Companies, CapeCod.com News

Conn. Consumer Counsel, Eversource Energy strike deal to reduce size of distribution rate increase, Litchfield County Times

New Central Maine Power CEO Lays Out His Vision For The Company, Maine Public

National Grid asks for $26 million less in Rhode Island rate hikes, Electric Light & Power

Fuel banks seek $25M in state assistance, Cape Cod Times

 

Editorial/Opinion

EDITORIAL: Enviro-zealots are wrong on natural gas, Lowell Sun

A bad deal for NH, (Northern Pass) The Union Leader

Letter: Wind, solar, biofuel should power Maine, The Forecaster

Offshore drilling catastrophic for Maine economy, Biddeford – Saco – OOB Courier

Lawmakers have one more chance to fix nonsensical solar rules, Bangor Daily News

Wind And Solar Energies Could Peter Out If Transmission Grid Is Not Expanded, Forbes

Our electricity grid gives us a wake-up call in New Hampshire, Manchester Ink Link

Letter: Industrial wind turbines threaten our way of life, Dansvilleonline.com

Guest Opinion: Broken energy market leaves Mass. consumers in the cold, Herald News

Mass. needs to think bigger on offshore wind, CommonWealth Magazine

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Filed under Climate Change, Natural Gas Pipelines, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News, offshore wind, Renewables, solar, Vermont Yankee Closing

Energy News for week ending September 15, 2017

What’s old is new | Millstone deal struck | It’s electric!

Happy Friday afternoon.

Some cool news this week from the folks at MIT who looked back in time – over 3 millennia – to find a potential solution to energy storage challenges. According to the article on Curbed.com, MIT researchers have reinvented firebricks, a Bronze-Age technology created by the Hittites in the 17th century BC. Firebricks were designed to retain heat for long periods of time. The MIT team’s Firebrick Resistance-heated Energy Storage (FIRES) system stores thermal energy (heat) in firebricks and later converts the energy back into electricity at about 1/40th the price of putting it into batteries. As the article notes, it could be a game changer for renewables.

According to the CT Mirror, the Connecticut General Assembly and the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have agreed in principle on bipartisan legislation authorizing state energy officials to take measures to stabilize the profitability of New England’s largest power plant, the Millstone nuclear station in Waterford. The Hartford Courant reported Friday afternoon that the Senate approved the measure which now awaits House action. The new proposal does not include a fee paid by Millstone’s parent company Dominion Energy.

In honor of the upcoming AltWheels event we have section on EV news. According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, electric vehicle ownership is rising in Massachusetts. They cite data from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection that shows the number of electric vehicles in the state has grown from 782 as of July 31, 2013, to 3,770 as of March 31, 2017. The number of plug-in hybrids, which can also utilize gasoline, has increased from 1,034 to 5,701 during that time frame. There is still a long way to go, but it’s a huge leap in numbers from the days yours truly spent promoting DOER’s EV program in the mid-late 90s.

On the same topic, The Huffington Post asks, Should Utilities Build Charging Stations For Electric Cars? Some arguments for and against are that, “Building more charging stations could help alleviate ‘range anxiety,’ the fear of running out of charge with no station in sight, and therefore stimulate sales of the clean-air-friendly cars. But in some states, officials say that letting the utility industry build more stations would force all electricity consumers to pay for a service that only a few, relatively affluent, people will use.” Hmmm. The article does contain a lot more detail on the pros and cons. It’s worth a read.

Have a great weekend.

Natural Gas/Pipeline

Feds overrule New York’s natural gas pipeline permit denial, Fox Business

10 arrested in pipeline protest at Tennessee Gas Co. headquarters in Sandisfield, Berkshire Eagle

Local officials seeking to stop gas leaks, MetroWest Daily News

Reliance on natural gas expected to grow, CommonWealth Magazine

Tennessee Gas Pipeline opponents plan flotilla on Lower Spectacle Pond, Berkshire Eagle

Pipeline maintenance cuts path through quiet neighborhood in Lynnfield, ItemLive

Climate Change

Climate change did not “cause” Harvey or Irma, but it’s a huge part of the story, Vox.com

Renewables

MIT turns to millennia-old tech for renewable energy storage, Curbed.com

Agency: Turbines could spin during bird migrations, Cape Cod Times

Family donates solar power systems to 8 nonprofits, Going Green

Cost of U.S. Solar Drops 75 percent in Six Years, Ahead of Federal Goal, YaleEnvironment360

CT greenlights major renewable projects, Hartford Business Journal

Massachusetts business coalition seeks steeper renewable energy standard, Electric Light and Power

The New 1,600 Megawatt Solar Program For Massachusetts Really Is SMART, Clean Technica

Eversource Building Solar Power Sites In Western Mass., WAMC

Solar project planned for Fitchburg site with history of energy production, Worcester Telegram

Cohasset’s new solar array officially open, Patriot Ledger

Farms that grow crops and solar power together, Greenfield Recorder

Maine cities, towns hope to pump up demand for air-sourced heat, The Forecaster

Stars Aligning for Clean Energy in the State…and NH Sustainable Energy Association is Helping Make it Happen, Keene Sentinel

Energy Efficiency

Mortgage Loans Still a Missing Link to Energy Efficiency Growth, Energy Collective

The Suburb of the Future, Almost Here, New York Times

Nuclear

Senate Approves Millstone Aid, Bill Awaits House Action, Hartford Courant

Deal struck on stabilizing profits of Millstone nuclear station, CT Mirror

Pilgrim addresses deteriorating protective panels, Energy Central

Activist posts billboard warning about Seabrook nuclear plant, Ipswich Chronicle

Planners look to future of VY site, Brattleboro Reformer

EVs

Electric vehicle ownership rising in the state, MetroWest Daily News

Should Utilities Build Charging Stations For Electric Cars?, Huffington Post

R.I., 6 other states face decision on plug-in cars, Providence Journal

Electric car dream collides with reality on profits, Boston Business Journal (subscriber article)

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

ISO-NE Visits Vermont to Discuss Tx Planning, RTO Insider

Power Plant Lawsuit Worries Town Of Sandwich, The Sandwich Enterprise

CMP, Gas Companies & Solar Proponents Battle Over Energy Policy, The Free Press

Utilities see benefits in energy storage, even without mandates, Utility Dive

No Fish Story. Tiny Island Lands Big Catch with Microgrid, Microgrid Knowledge

Northern Pass Spokesman Says ‘End in Sight,’ As SEC Pushes Back Decision, NHPR

U.S. Court Allows Suit Alleging ExxonMobil’s Everett Tank Farm Is A Hazard To Proceed, WGBH

CMP & Others Bidding for New Transmission Lines Across Maine, The Free Press

As Brayton Point hits the market, golf course, industrial park among pitches, Herald News

Pass rep questioned on whether project will affect scenic resources, Union Leader

Wellesley no longer at odds over Clean Energy Standard regulations, Wicked Local Wellesley

Baker Stepping Up Emissions Strategy With Focus On Transportation, Banker & Tradesman (subscriber article)

Opinion

New England’s power grid operator is biased, CommonWealth Magazine

Energy efficiency benefits NH businesses, NHBR

Kathy Sullivan: Northern Pass is not ready for prime time, Union Leader

Eversource’s solar proposal needs to go, CommonWealth Magazine

A Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Moment for Natural Gas in NH, IndepthNH

Karen Glitman: Efficiency Vermont’s listening tour, VT Digger

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Filed under Natural Gas Pipelines, Renewables, Vermont Yankee Closing