Tag Archives: methane

Energy news for week ending November 6, 2020

Survive the transition? | New referendum | Seaweed to the rescue

Happy warm and sunny Friday!

It’s been a very interesting week politically so let’s distract ourselves with a bit of energy news.

Up first is a story from Grist about Massachusetts’ look into the future of the natural gas industry. While we covered this in last week’s edition, there are a few more insights in this story. “Massachusetts may be a climate leader in the U.S., with a goal to reduce economy-wide emissions in the state to net-zero by 2050, but it will face a major obstacle along the way: More than 1.3 million of its households make it through those cold New England winters by burning natural gas. Roughly one-third of the state’s emissions come from the fuels burned in buildings for heating, hot water, and cooking. Now the state is responding to pressure from its attorney general, Maura Healey, to take a look at what the path to net-zero in the building sector might look like, particularly for the gas companies whose entire reason for existing could be eliminated in the process. Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) officially opened a new proceeding to start guiding utilities into a decarbonized future while protecting their customers. As the number of people using the gas system shrinks over time, the cost of maintaining reliable service for remaining ratepayers could balloon. ‘It’s a really complicated set of issues as you look at what’s going to be happening on the gas side as people peel off,’ said Susan Tierney, a senior advisor and energy expert at the Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm. ‘There’s real trade-offs about affordability of supply, safety of service.’…Audrey Schulman and Zeyneb Magavi, co-executive directors of the Massachusetts–based environmental nonprofit HEET, applauded the new inquiry, but they are concerned that the process it outlines will result in a one-sided picture of what’s possible, and could stymie more creative solutions.”

The fight in Maine against the New England Clean Energy Connect project hasn’t ended. From the Press Herald, “A new referendum drive aimed at stopping a 145-mile hydropower transmission corridor in western Maine is underway. The Maine secretary of state on Friday provided the paperwork necessary for signature collection to begin, and referendum supporters plan to be at polling places with petitions on Election Day. ‘With a decision this important, Mainers deserve to be heard, but so far during the permitting process, their overwhelming opposition to this project has fallen on deaf ears,’ said Tom Saviello, a former state lawmaker who opposes the project. It would be the second referendum targeting Central Maine Power’s $1 billion New England Clean Energy Connect, which aims to serve as a conduit for up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to reach New England. The project would be fully funded by Massachusetts ratepayers, but the entire region would benefit through reduced greenhouse emissions and stabilization of energy prices, supporters say. Critics say the benefits are overstated and that the project would spoil part of Maine’s North Woods.”

Last up this week is an interesting story from the Wall St. Journal about a new way to help stem methane emissions. “Cows Make Climate Change Worse. Could Seaweed Help? Scientists have spent years coaxing a fussy red seaweed called asparagopsis into cultivation. Their plan: to feed the underwater plant to cows and sheep in an effort to make the animals less environmentally destructive. The belching and flatulence of livestock release large quantities of methane and make up around 4% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, according to data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s equivalent to the amount contributed by Japan and Germany combined. Seaweed alters bovine digestion, reducing the methane an animal produces by 80% or more, according to scientists at the University of California, Davis, and Australia’s national science agency. It is one of the plants and chemicals that meat and dairy businesses are experimenting with to reduce their contribution to global warming.” And if you’re looking for ways to cut back on your beef and lamb intake, the Bangor Daily News offers up this alternative, How to hunt and prepare squirrel meat.

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

Efficiency/Storage

Study: Long Island’s smallest power plants could be replaced by trailer-sized batteries, Newsday

New York City Becomes The Most Energy Efficient City In ACEEE Scorecard 2020, Construction Review

Revamped Energy Efficiency Programs Are the Key to Deep Carbon Reductions, Greentech Media

New York Housing Authority announces new bold commitment to electrification, Greenbiz

Efficiency meets style in this net-zero home in Jamestown, Rhode Island Monthly

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Hydrogen is having a moment, and power generation is leading the way, Utility Dive

The State of Carbon Capture, Removal and Utilization, Greentech Media

Cows Make Climate Change Worse. Could Seaweed Help,? Wall St. Journal

Look Ahead, Vermont: Global Warming Solutions Act takes first steps as Climate Council appointees named, Brattleboro Reformer

Environmental groups press Murphy to reject regional anti-pollution pact. They say it’s not bold enough, NJ Spotlight

Maine regulators deny requests to reconsider renewable energy projects, Bangor Daily News

Voters give non-binding ballot questions on renewable energy, open-door government widespread support, Hampshire Daily Gazette

Museum of the Earth unable to promote climate change exhibit amid 2020 election, Ithaca Voice

Local elections are changing America’s energy mix, one city at a time, The Verge

Are renewable energy targets useful? Analysts dispute new study questioning their value, Utility Dive

If true geothermal arrives here, it’ll have to be around Conway, Granite Geek

Latest Rhode Island Green Report Card Gives Statehouse an ‘Incomplete and Lacking Leadership,’ EcoRI

A Bipartisan Climate Policy? It Could Happen Under a Biden Administration, Washington Veterans Say, Inside Climate News

Wind

First offshore wind farm goes offline: An industry warning,? E&E News

Shipbuilding on the ballot? Offshore wind sees an opening, E&E News

Rhode Island in Position for Offshore Wind Power Grab, EcoRI

Solar

New firm will optimize performance of New England solar projects, Vermont Biz

Farmington approves land lease for solar project, Sun Journal

EVs

Patchogue Village purchases first electric car, Long Island Advance

Nuclear

Shipping industry should consider nuclear option for decarbonizing: experts, S&P Global Platts

Holtec accelerates US NRC design certification for SMR-160, Nuclear Engineering International

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Can gas utilities survive the energy transition? Massachusetts is going to find out., Grist

Gas workers call on lawmakers to improve safety, Salem News

In effort to curb emissions, state regulators probe the future of natural gas in Massachusetts, Boston Globe

Gas supply rates rise for Eversource customers; increase driven by market forces, not purchase of former Columbia Gas, MassLive

Tennessee Gas and contractor to pay $800,000 in penalties, repairs over controversial natural gas project in Otis State Forest, MassLive

Final order on Eversource gas rates announced, WickedLocal Hanover

Cold Weather Thaws Natural-Gas Prices, Wall St. Journal

Thousands in Derby, Ansonia lose natural gas service, Stamford Advocate

St. Albans meadery converting to 100% renewable natural gas to fight climate change, Burlington Free Press

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Opponents of CMP hydropower corridor launch new referendum drive, Press Herald

PURA Opts for Existing Programs Over Shutoff Moratorium, CT Examiner

CMP hydropower project wins key permit, likely to start construction soon, Bangor Daily News

Trump ousts Chatterjee, taps Danly to lead FERC, Utility Dive

Eversource: Tropical Storm Isaias restoration topped $275 million, still counting costs, CT Insider

Larger, vertically-integrated utilities better prepared to face cyber threats, says Moody’s, Utility Dive

Massachusetts Blazes Its Own Trail on Distributed Energy Policy, Greentech Media (subscriber content)

National Grid’s Massachusetts president to retire, Boston Globe

MASSCAP, Action Inc. launch heating help awareness campaign, Wicked Local Gloucester

Eversource Proposes Rate Increase In CT, Cites Generation Costs, Patch.com

Eversource submits proposal for winter rate increase, says they won’t profit, Fox 61

‘Totally worth it’: Chatterjee speculates DER order, carbon pricing are behind Trump ousting him, Utility Dive

Opinion

Maine Voices: New plan to kill CMP corridor will have unintended consequences, centralmaine.com

How to Overcome Barriers to Community Microgrids, Microgrid Knowledge

Give community power a chance, by Mary Ewell, Keene Sentinel

Tree Talk: Renewable wood energy, Sun Journal

Op-Ed: NJ needs to rethink Energy Master Plan, prioritize affordable energy, NJ Spotlight

We don’t have to wipe out farmland to grow solar energy in N.J. | Opinion, NJ.com

Pull plug on destructive Quebec hydropower proposal, Albany Times Union

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

Energy News for week ending October 6, 2017

Try a little voodoo | Methane Moooystery Solved | Troubling Conclusion

Happy Friday afternoon. The Energy News list today is UGE! In order to make it easier for folks to find what they want we created more categories. This may not be the case every week, but when have nearly 80 stories, like today, a little more sorting seems to help.

We’ve also been expanding our range to include more Northeast (i.e. beyond New England) stories, and of course have national news stories with potential local and regional implications. We hope you’re enjoying the change. Now, let’s get to a few of the news items.

I love the lede in this Berkshire Eagle article, “When all else fails, keep bugging the pipeline company, and try a little voodoo.” While it sounds like a lot of shenanigans were going on, the story also touches on some kind human interactions between the members of the police detail and the protestors. With all that’s been going on in the world, examples of peaceful protests are welcome news.

The Washington Post brings us the results of a study on upticks in methane over recent years. It seems the cause may be burping bovines. “Just from livestock methane emissions, our revisions resulted in 11 percent more methane in a recent year than what we were previously estimating,” said Julie Wolf, lead author of the study who completed the work while a postdoc at the institute and now works at the Department of Agriculture. “It’s not the biggest contributor to the annual methane budget in the atmosphere, but it may be the biggest contributor to increases in the atmospheric budget over recent years.” And, if you thought the emissions came from the other end of the cow, check out the embedded 2015 story about how that’s not the case.

Lastly this week, also from the Washington Post comes the results of 26-year climate change study that has been taking place in the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. From the article, “The research, tracking the emissions of carbon from artificially heated plots of a forest in Massachusetts, reinforces fears about the possibility of a climate change “feedback” involving the planet’s soils, one that could pile on top of and substantially worsen the ongoing warming trend triggered by the burning of fossil fuels.” Check it out, it’s pretty interesting stuff.

As always, be sure to check out the events page at New England Energy News. Have a great Columbus Day weekend.

Natural Gas/Pipeline/Methane

Activists relentless as Tennessee Gas tries to wrap up pipeline work, gas to flow in November, Berkshire Eagle

Scientists may have found a solution to the atmosphere’s methane mystery, Washington Post

New York power plant raises concerns, Greater New Milford Spectrum

TransCanada says it’s cancelling Energy East pipeline, CT Post

LISTEN: The science behind gas leaks under our cities and towns, The Patriot Ledger

Massive Pennsylvania gas leak proves industry requires more oversight, Environmental Defense Fund

Looking beyond pipelines to address New England’s electricity needs, Environmental Defense Fund

Renewables (Policy/RGGI/Purchasing, etc.)

Murphy or Guadagno: There’s Likely RGGI in New Jersey’s Future, NJ Spotlight

Vermont a Leader in Renewables, PUC Chair Says, RTO Insider

Renewable energy fans flex lobbying muscles in Massachusetts, Penn Energy

Council president, mayor differ on green electricity plan for city, Boston Globe

Wind

Energy Companies’ Proposal Could Help Expand Maine’s Wind Power Capacity, Maine Public

New York To BOEM: Here’s Where We Can Build Offshore Wind, North American Windpower

NY State clears way for more offshore wind, Long Island Business News

Senvion’s 3.7M144 Wind Turbine Arrives In North America, North American Windpower

If Wind Power Is Going to Replace Fossil Fuels, We Need Bigger Turbines, Futurism

From Black to Green: DONG Energy is Now Ørsted, Renewable Energy World

So Long, DONG: Danish Energy Giant Changes Name While Dropping Fossil Fuels, Greentech Media

Scituate selectmen consider shutting down wind turbine, Patriot Ledger

Solar

Net Metering Cap Stalls $78 Million Worth Of Massachusetts Solar Projects, CleanTechnica

Massachusetts Solar Industry Testifies in Support of Raising Net Metering Caps, Energy Collective

Claremont solar array project moves forward, The Union Leader

Rebuilding After the Hurricanes: These Solar Homes Use Almost No Energy, InsideClimate News

Regulations Force Boston Churches to Cut Back Solar Plan, WGBH

Solar industry turns up heat on Mass. Legislature, Boston Globe

New tariff proposals put solar in ‘a land of complete uncertainty’ ahead of ITC hearing, Utility Dive

Fairfield enters partnership to explore solar array on closed landfill, Energy Central/Morning Central

New Milford residents oppose solar project for Candlewood Mountain, News Times

Low-income families left in dark by solar law, Wicked Local Littleton

Tidal

N.S. opens door to new energy ventures among world’s highest tides in Fundy, Times Colonist

Tidal turbine test site at Cape Cod Canal gets green light, Cape Cod Times

Climate Change

One of the oldest climate change experiments has led to a troubling conclusion, Washington Post

Storage

Massachusetts’ largest ESS will help ‘stabilise’ utility customers’ rates for 20 years, Energy Storage News

National Grid, battery company unveil power system at Holy Name, Worcester Business Journal

ENGIE and Massachusetts utility team up for 6 MWh energy storage project, Utility Dive

Energy Efficiency

Pot power drain on the minds of Bay State utilities, Gloucester Times

Happy Energy Efficiency Day: Buy an LED Bulb to Celebrate, Natural Resources Defense Council

Efficiencies helped households save up to 30 percent on energy bills in 2016: IEA, Reuters

States Lead the Way on Energy Efficiency as Feds Falter, Natural Resources Defense Council

Portsmouth joins national Energy Efficiency Day, Seacoastonline.com

Start saving money, reducing pollution on Energy Efficiency Day, wwlp.com

Despite Trump, states keep getting more energy-efficient., Grist

Connecticut slips slightly in state-by-state ranking of energy efficiency, The Greater New Milford Spectrum

Want To Build An Energy Efficient House? Try Concrete, WNPR News

LED streetlight conversion leads to $115K grant, Daily Times Chronicle

Nuclear

Nuclear Regulatory Commission responds to Seabrook safety activist’s concerns, Wicked Local Ipswich

At Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant, A Rumble Over Rubble, New England Public Radio

Vermont Yankee decommissioning fund grows by $13M, Brattleboro Reformer

Entergy, NorthStar want critical comments nixed, vtdigger.org

Pilgrim owner backs off another nuclear plant closure, Cape Cod Times

Proposed federal bill would give millions to cities storing nuclear waste, Chicago Tribune

Courtney targets nuclear waste, Hartford Business

DOE NOPR FERC

US DOE proposal for FERC market reforms draws heavy fire at GCPA, Platts

An Obscure Statute Is Helping Trump Save U.S. Coal, Nuclear, Bloomberg

How DOE’s baseload power rule ‘would blow the market up,’ Utility Dive

Behind the Backlash to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s Demand for Coal-Nuclear Market Intervention, Greentech Media

The Energy Department is Making up Reasons Why You Need to Pay More For Dirty Energy, Fast Company

Markets/Grid/Policy/Prices/Etc.

State budget woes jeopardize environmental funding, New Haven Register

Eversource predicts dip in monthly bills by 5.5 percent, The Union Leader

Site Evaluation Committee views potential impact of Northern Pass on Concord, Concord Monitor

World’s First Technology To Measure Electricity Grid Stability Announced, CleanTechnica

Land Conservationists Worry Power Plant Will Fragment Forest, Harm Species, WNPR News

Invenergy announces water deal with Narragansett Tribe, RI Future

Rep. Cushing to PUC: Don’t Let ‘Polluter’ Eversource Buy Aquarion Water, InDepthNH.org

Worcester balks at National Grid repair bills for DCU Center, Worcester Telegram

EPA chief wants more of Northern Pass underground, The Union Leader

Connecticut energy plan raises tough questions on comparative resource valuation, Utility Dive

FERC eschews social cost of carbon measurement in new downstream analysis, Utility Dive

Winter energy prices to rise at least seven percent in Mass, MetroWest Daily News

Northern Pass hits another obstacle, CommonWealth Magazine

Imagining the Utility of the Future, Utility Dive

Gardner deal to trim electricity bills, Telegram

Editorial/Opinion

Stopping Climate Change Starts at Home, Commonwealth Magazine

Editorial: Energy project shows promise, once connected to the grid, The Recorder

Northern Pass is committed to working with businesses, The Laconia Daily Sun

Forum: Protect Millstone’s workers and communities, not its shareholders, New Haven Register

Amelia Shea: A long-term view of Vermont Yankee site, vtdigger.org

Could electricity become too cheap to meter?, CommonWealth Magazine

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, nuclear, offshore wind, solar