Tag Archives: natural gas

Energy News for week ending August 7, 2020

Path to Survival | One Billion Dollars | Clean Peak

Happy Friday folks.

We start this week’s recap with a story from Greentech Media, “Massachusetts Pilot Project Offers Gas Utilities a Possible Path to Survival. Utility Eversource is partnering on Boston-area district geothermal pilots as the state contemplates a gas-free future for buildings. In June, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey asked the state’s Department of Public Utilities to open an investigation into the future of natural-gas companies in the state…The attorney general’s office asked utility regulators to explore the potential for a range of alternatives to decarbonize heating, including building electrification, energy efficiency and ‘geothermal network applications.’ The last option is a nod to work by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nonprofit Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) to advance a concept called the GeoMicroDistrict, which would see heat pumps in individual buildings transferring thermal energy between a shared district water loop and their own heating and cooling distribution systems. In such a system, gas companies could deliver thermal energy instead of gas — minus the carbon, says Audrey Schulman, HEET’s co-executive director.”

Next we shift to NY news with this story from Grist, “New York is spending $1 billion to help residents conserve energy — and lower their bills. As summer heat waves converge with a surging pandemic and an impending economic collapse, energy-efficient homes are becoming particularly critical to Americans’ well-being. Millions now face tough choices when it comes to energy usage: The longer they stay home to stay safe from both scorching heat and COVID-19, the higher their utility bills climb. New York’s state government, for its part, is eyeing a long-term solution to this conundrum. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is collaborating with the region’s investor-owned utilities to provide clean and energy-efficient solutions to more than 350,000 low-to-moderate income households throughout the state. The collaboration aims to more than double the number of lower-income households that have access to services like voluntary electric load reduction, as well as better insulation and air sealing for more efficient cooling and heating, according to an announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office last week. The initiative will also provide education and community support programs to connect these upgrades to the households most in need.”

For the last highlight of this week we look to a State House News story brought to us by MassLive. “New program aims to sub in clean power during peak energy periods. The Baker administration rolled out the final regulations Tuesday for a first-in-the-nation financial incentive program that aims to promote clean energy generation to supply power when demand on the grid is at its highest, and officials said it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save ratepayers money. The clean peak energy standard would require every retail electric supplier with a contract signed or extended since the start of 2019 to provide a minimum percentage of its kilowatt-hour sales to end-use customers in Massachusetts from ‘clean peak’ resources — renewables, energy storage systems or ‘clean energy technologies that can supply electricity or reduce demand during seasonal peak demand periods.’ The idea is to address periods of the greatest demand on the electric grid — when power generators sometimes turn to dirtier fossil fuels.”

Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

New York is spending $1 billion to help residents conserve energy — and lower their bills, Grist

Mandated energy efficiency scores would influence home buying: ACEEE, Utility Dive

Mass. launches financing program for business energy projects, Worcester Business Journal

As grant-funded lighting project nears end, town struggles to meet long-term energy goals, Harvard Press

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

CT’s long road to replace nuclear power with wind and solar, Middletown Press

Report suggests increasing pumped storage could cut electric costs and carbon emissions, Water Power Magazine

Who Will Own the Hydrogen Future: Oil Companies or Power Utilities?, Greentech Media

Report: Climate Change Raises Flood Risks For Superfund Sites In N.H., Elsewhere, NHPR

Report: ‘Total decarbonization’ would create 25M jobs, E&E News

The Worst-Case Scenario for Global Warming Tracks Closely With Actual Emissions, Inside Climate News

New program aims to sub in clean power during peak energy periods, State House News via Taunton Daily Gazette

Massachusetts lawmakers in climate policy bill conference committee snuff out carbon emissions, State House News Service via MassLive

Which states are making the most progress on emissions? Not the ones you think., Grist

Investors launch climate plan to get to net zero emissions by 2050, Reuters

Hurricane, Fire, Covid-19: Disasters Expose the Hard Reality of Climate Change, New York Times

Rising temperatures will cause more deaths than all infectious diseases – study, The Guardian

How falling solar costs have renewed clean hydrogen hopes, MIT Technology Review

 

Wind

Massachusetts puts grid backbone on the back burner, 4C Offshore

CT’s largest ever renewable energy investment nears final approval, Hartford Business Journal

URI Researcher to Map Commercial Fishing Activity to Reduce Conflict Between Industry and Energy Projects, EcoRI

Floating Offshore Wind on Cusp of Unlocking Big Source of Finance, Experts Say, Greentech Media

U.S. Offshore Wind Needs to Clear a Key Hurdle: Connecting to the Grid, Scientific American

Offshore wind report forecasts $1.7B of revenue from new federal lease auctions by 2022, Utility dive

GE plans to give offshore wind energy a supercomputing boost, The Verge

Maine’s $100M Floating Offshore Wind Project Finds Major Backers: RWE and Mitsubishi, Greentech Media

 

Solar

Newark launches $10 million project to install solar panels, other energy efficiency upgrades, Newark Post

 

EVs

GM, EVgo to install 2,700 electric-vehicle charging stations, Detroit News

Global Electric Vehicle Cords Top 1 Million, Bloomberg

A new kind of command car at Kennebunk Fire Department, Press Herald

 

Nuclear

Smaller Nuclear Plants May Come With Less Stringent Safety Rules, NPR

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Massachusetts Pilot Project Offers Gas Utilities a Possible Path to Survival, Greentech Media

Gas safety legislation stalls on Beacon Hill, Salem News

As natural gas bans go national, can cities fill the gap?, E&E News

How climate and business woes are sinking a natural-gas project, Axios

Oil and Gas Groups See ‘Some Common Ground’ in Biden Energy Plan, New York Times

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Opponents debate merits of Maine hydro project, Codcast CommonWealth Magazine (audio)

Maine’s high court wrestles with lawsuit holding major implications for CMP corridor, Bangor Daily News

Eversource faces the wrath of Connecticut officials as more than 600,000 remain without electricity cut by Tropical Storm Isaias, Hartford Current

Storm recovery upsets Norwich Public Utilities cost-cutting efforts, The Day

Municipalities who own power plants not zapped by electricity price hikes, WTNH (CT)

After a week of complaints, utility regulators temporarily pull plug on Eversource rate hike, CT Mirror

New Jersey’s PSEG Seeks to Sell Merchant Fossil, Solar Fleet, Greentech Media

New York And Connecticut Call For Probes Into Utility Companies’ Response To Isaias, NPR

Con Edison seeks approval to offer access to green power, Queens Gazette

Eversource: Some rate relief approved for electric customers, MassLive

 

Opinion/Editorial

Getting rid of fossil fuels in buildings, CommonWealth Magazine

The Importance of Microgrids for Marginalized Communities, Microgrid Knowledge

House takes baby steps on climate change, CommonWealth Magazine

Columnist Marty Nathan: Legislature’s opaque process hurts climate fight, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Why the CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine and the climate, Maine Beacon

Best climate change policy you’ve never heard of, CommonWealth Magazine

 

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

Energy News for week ending July 24, 2020

Reluctantly Rejected | Wind that Works

Happy Friday.

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

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

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

Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

The most powerful renewable energy, BBC

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

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

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

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

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

Hydrogen Becomes More Viable as a Microgrid Fuel, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

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

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

 

Nuclear

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

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

Gas

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

Healey reluctantly rejects Brookline bylaw, CommonWealth Magazine

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

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

 

Events

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

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

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

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

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

Energy News for the week ending July 10, 2020

Put ‘em up | Dirty Word | Lithium

Happy summer Friday afternoon.

Just a quick recap for today. Basically the big news was all about the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and what that means for other pipeline projects both now and in the future. Both the New York Times and Greentech Media questioned whether this is the end of new pipelines.  The New York Times went further to suggest the next energy battle is between renewables and natural gas.

Bruce Mohl at Commonwealth Magazine tells us that in Maine “Mass.” becomes a dirty word in the referendum fight over the New England Clean Energy Connect project. He notes, “The referendum battle is in some ways the dark underbelly of a push for clean energy in Massachusetts.”

While this next story isn’t about a new technology it is about a new find. From NECN, “Is a Proposed Lithium Mine in Nevada the Future of Renewable Energy? Northern Nevada could soon explode into America’s ‘Lithium Valley,’ playing an even more critical role in our country’s future than Silicon Valley did with technology. Tesla built the highest-volume battery plant in the world outside Reno, but it has to import the lithium it uses from as far away as Western Australia or South America. That could soon change with a discovery that’s just a couple hours north of Tesla’s Gigafactory. A Canadian mining company identified what is one of the world’s largest lithium deposits inside the footprint of an ancient volcano.”

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

Gas

The World Can’t Take Much More Shale Gas, Wall St. Journal

Dominion Sells Gas Business and Cancels Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Greentech Media

Anti-Pipeline Playbook Snags Biggest Victories Yet. What’s Next?, Bloomberg Law

Natural gas pipeline developers aim to differentiate from Atlantic Coast and avoid its fate, Utility Dive

Is This the End of New Pipelines,? New York Times

Beginning of the End for New Oil and Gas Pipelines?, (audio) Greentech Media

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

The Next Energy Battle: Renewables vs. Natural Gas, New York Times

As Fossil Fuel Pipelines Fall to Opposition, Utilities See Renewable Energy as Safe Bet, Greentech Media

Wall Street giants plan more active role in climate fight, Axios

While climate change divides Democrats and Republicans, renewable policy unites, PV Magazine

NYSERDA announces first-of-its-kind partnership with ASHRAE to build back better and mitigate spread of COVID while combating climate change, Niagara Frontier Publications

Virginia joins Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, CBS19 News

Pennsylvania House OKs bill curbing state’s ability to join RGGI in ongoing dispute with governor, Utility Dive

Humid Heat Extremes on the Rise, Climate Central

Major COVID-related emissions drop still ‘no cause for cheer,’ Houston Chronicle

Is a Proposed Lithium Mine in Nevada the Future of Renewable Energy,? NECN

 

Wind

Interior Department to streamline offshore wind permitting, nix unsolicited leasing, Utility Dive

Coast Guard challenged on offshore wind traffic study, Work Boat

 

Solar

Tough Questions for Massachusetts in Weighing Solar Development Against Land Conservation, GTM2 (subscriber content)

Sunrun to Acquire Vivint Solar, Creating Home Solar Giant, Greentech Media

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Investors Still Betting on Next Big Energy Storage Technology: Solid-State Batteries, Greentech Media

Federal Energy Efficiency: Promoting Equity and the Planet, NRDC

Eversource Energy: Restarts In-Person Energy Efficiency Services with Enhanced Safety Guidelines, Market Screener

 

Nuclear

Pilgrim Watch Releases Handbook on Nuclear Decommissioning, Wicked Local Kingston

General Atomics to deliver radiation monitoring systems to Millstone 3, Nuclear Engineering Intl.

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Mass. becomes dirty word in Maine referendum fight, CommonWealth Magazine

Commitment from Hydro-Quebec will bring electricity to Maine at discounted rate, WABI

How Utility Companies Use Charitable Giving To Influence Policy, HuffPost

Big spending, legal appeals in $1B transmission project, AP

U.S. power use to drop by record amount in 2020 due coronavirus: EIA, Reuters

 

Opinion

Explainer: Why the CMP Corridor is a Bad Deal for Maine and the Climate, National Resources Council of Maine

How energy efficiency could be a powerful force for economic recovery, NHBR

Crashing coastal property values and the economic fallout of climate change, Boston Globe

Why Advocates of 100% Clean Energy Must Overcome the ‘Resource Adequacy’ Challenge, Greentech Media

States are falling short on building decarbonization — Here’s what regulators need to do, Utility Dive

Our View: Fixing a broken system, Andover Townsman

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Natural Gas Pipelines, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News

Energy News for week ending June 26, 2020

Carbon Tax | Solar Limbo | StEnSea

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

Emissions reduction bill clears Senate committee, VT Digger

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

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

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

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

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

Ford aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, The Verge

 

Nuclear

Citizens’ Panel Reviews Pilgrim Nuclear Settlement, WCAI

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

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

Truck hauling empty Vermont Yankee waste containers tips over, WCAX

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

 

Gas

Report cites slow progress fixing gas leaks, Salem News

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

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

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Opinion

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

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

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

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

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

Rural New York pays price as NYC benefits, Times Union

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

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

Energy News for week ending June 19, 2020

6 months | Encouraged | Pyroelectric

Good afternoon.

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

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

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

New York Proposes Regional Greenhouse Gas Changes, National Law Review

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

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

Cleantech incubator Greentown Labs expands to Houston, Utility Dive

Turning manure into money, Washington Post

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

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

Theoharides: Transpo emission pact still priority, CommonWealth Magazine

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

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

Boston organization stirs ire of solar advocates, CommonWealth Magazine

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

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

Gas disaster settlement fees in question, Eagle Tribune

Natural Gas Heads for Record Drop in Global Demand, Bloomberg

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

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

 

Nuclear

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

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

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

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

Smart Energy Grids Become More Compelling, IoT World Today

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

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

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

 

Opinion

Our view: Huge potential for offshore energy, Salem News

New transmission infrastructure needed for offshore wind, CommonWealth Magazine

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

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

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

Energy News for week ending June 5, 2020

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

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Healey asks DPU to lead on clean energy transition, WWLP

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

Celebration May Be Premature For Gas Project Opponents, WGBH

Air permit for Weymouth gas project overturned, Wicked Local Weymouth

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wind

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

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

The Future Of Wind Energy, Oilprice.com

MassCEC Contributes to Greentown Labs Offshore Wind Challenge, NA Windpower

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

 

Solar

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

 

Nuclear

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

Overcoming Forecast Uncertainties for Better DER Planning, Greentech Media

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

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

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

 

Opinion

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

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

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

Energy News for week ending May 15, 2020

Planned Approach | Green Grant Rejected | Secret Space Plane

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

Weymouth compressor station moves toward completion, Patriot Ledger

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Mass. emission strategies all up in air, CommonWealth Magazine

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

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

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

Clean energy, rate relief on collision course, Politico

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

Judge Dismisses Another Green Development Lawsuit, EcoRI

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

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

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

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

 

Nuclear

Consultant says NorthStar’s spending on track, Brattleboro Reformer

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

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

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

CT regulators toughen rules on energy suppliers, Greenwich Time

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

House coronavirus bill aims to prevent utility shutoffs, The Hill

 

Editorial/Opinion

CT regulators toughen rules on energy suppliers, Greenwich Time

Stop Equating Coronavirus with Climate Action, Next City

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

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

Energy News for week ending May 8, 2020

Outrage | Social Distancing Threat | Woodwind

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start this week with a story from RTO Insider, “Exelon Bid to Keep Mystic Units Running Provokes Outrage. When Exelon announced that it would retire its 2,001-MW Mystic Generating Station, ISO-NE was forced to amend its Tariff and sign an expensive and controversial out-of-market contract to keep the plant running through May 2024 for reliability. Now, Exelon has filed interconnection requests to keep the two combined cycle units at the plant in Everett, Mass., running beyond the end of its $400 million cost-of-service agreement for “fuel security” in 2024. Exelon’s April 20 filing with ISO-NE asked the RTO to treat the two gas-fired units — with combined capacity of 1,600 MW in summer and 1,700 MW in winter — as “new” resources. ‘The filing preserves an additional option for Mystic 8 and 9 to provide unique fuel security and electric reliability benefits to the region following the cost-of-service period, if ISO-NE decides that it does not need Mystic 8 and 9 in the market for transmission security for at least one more year,’ Exelon Generation spokesman Mark Rodgers explained in response to questions from RTO Insider. News of Exelon’s change of heart provoked outrage among some stakeholders.”

It’s a bit far-flung from the Northeast but the strategy in this story could certainly have implications here, especially given the number of cities and towns contemplating gas bans. From the LA Times, “How to stop a climate vote? Threaten a ‘no social distancing’ protest. San Luis Obispo was on the verge of passing an ambitious climate change policy when the proposal’s most vocal critic, Eric Hofmann, found a trump card: fear of the coronavirus. Elected officials in this city along California’s Central Coast planned to vote on an energy code that would encourage construction of all-electric buildings, which don’t use gas appliances and aren’t hooked up to the gas grid. It’s an increasingly popular tool for cities looking to phase out fossil fuels — and a threat to the gas industry, which has mounted a vigorous counteroffensive. On March 16, Hofmann sent an email to San Luis Obispo officials that left them shocked. ‘If the city council intends to move forward with another reading on a gas ban I can assure you there will be no social distancing in place,’ he wrote. ‘I strongly urge the city council to kick this can down the road to adhere to public health safety measures. Please don’t force my hand in bussing in hundreds and hundreds of pissed off people potentially adding to this pandemic.’ Hofmann is president of Utility Workers Union of America Local 132, which represents thousands of employees of Southern California Gas Co. — one of the nation’s largest gas utilities, and a prominent crusader against local efforts to phase out gas. He also chairs the board of directors of Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions, a pro-gas advocacy group that has received funding from SoCalGas and worked closely with the utility to generate opposition to all-electric building policies.”

And for our new technology story of the week we travel to Sweden with a story from Business Green. “Renewable power: Modvion installs 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower. A 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower has been erected by engineering and industrial design firm Modvion on a Swedish island close to the city of Gothenburg. Modvion announced last week that the successful pilot project, built for research purposes for the Swedish Wind Technology Centre, marked a ‘major breakthrough’ in the development of a new generation of low-carbon, high-efficiency wind turbines. ‘Laminated wood is stronger than steel at the same weight, and by building in modules, wind turbines can be taller,’ chief executive Otto Lundman said. ‘By building in wood, we also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing and instead store carbon dioxide in the design.’ Alongside their environmental benefits, advocates of wooden wind towers maintain that they hold several major advantages for wind project developers accustomed to working with steel. For example, because wood is cheaper, lighter, and can be transported in smaller modules, construction costs for wooden towers are likely to be lower. Furthermore, a modular approach to construction allows towers to be taller and wider, meaning that turbines can extend longer vertically and operate in places where wind speeds are higher.”

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Gas Stoves: Health and Air Quality Impacts and Solutions, Rocky Mountain Institute

Legislation aims to block fossil fuel companies from receiving coronavirus aid, The Hill

So far, COVID-19 fallout not altering plans to retire US coal-fired plants, S&P Global

These dirty power plants cost billions and only operate in summer. Can they be replaced,? Grist

How to stop a climate vote? Threaten a ‘no social distancing’ protest, LA Times

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

US Treasury to Tweak Tax Credit Deadlines for Renewables Projects, Greentech Media

Amid pandemic, U.S. renewable power sources have topped coal for 40 days, Reuters

Coronavirus Offers a Clear View of What Causes Air Pollution, Wall St. Journal

Solar, wind energy struggle as coronavirus takes toll, AP News

Critics Say R.I. Climate Council Falls Short of Its Mandate, EcoRI

Coronavirus crisis hits solar and wind energy industry, Washington Post

New York to include small combustion turbines in annual carbon emission limits, Utility Dive

Are Progressive Climate Policies a Political Poison Pill,? Greentech Media

Forests Are Vanishing More Slowly, But Not Slowly Enough, Bloomberg Green

MassCEC Goes Underwater NB Ocean Wind Turbine Port, Patch.com

Harvard didn’t divest from fossil fuels. So what does its ‘net-zero’ pledge mean?, Grist.com

Climate and coronavirus hit the same communities hard, Futurity.org

Governor rejects withdrawal from RGGI, Daily American (PA)

 

Wind

‘Growing chorus’ endorses multi-user transmission system, RiveriaMM.com

Renewable power: Modvion installs 30-metre wooden wind turbine tower, Business Green

Peek Into a Wooden Mast Reveals Wind Power’s Towering Future, Bloomberg Green

Energy generated on offshore wind turbine farms, and conveyed ashore as hydrogen fuel, EurakAlert!

Sheffield wind case: Timeline of years-long sound level fight, Caledonian Record via National Wind Watch

Big data ‘could help drive better performance of wind energy assets,’ Energy Live News

 

Solar

New 3.2MW solar plant to provide clean energy to Vermont’s electric utilities, Energy Live News

Planning Board: Buxton Street solar farm doesn’t meet ordinance, Valley Breeze

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Storing solar and wind energy with compressed air, PV Magazine

Regulatory developments shaping energy storage in 2020 so far, PV Magazine

 

EVs

Utilities should charge electric delivery trucks as a new rate class, take other cost-cutting steps: Amazon-led alliance, Market Watch

New Breed of Pickups Mixes Horsepower and Battery Power, New York Times

 

Nuclear

Millstone security employees criticize COVID-19 safety efforts, The Day

Nuclear plant workers cite lack of precautions around virus, AP News

Fact-checking Amazon’s new season of Bosch, American Nuclear Society

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Exelon Bid to Keep Mystic Units Running Provokes Outrage, RTO Insider

Maine Supreme Court Rules That Anti-CMP Corridor Referendum Signatures Were Valid, Maine Public

Trump’s grid security executive order will create vendor ‘black list,’ complicate equipment sourcing, Utility Dive

Looming Coal and Nuclear Plant Closures Put ‘Just Transition’ Concept to the Test, Greentech Media

Trump’s security order could have ‘chilling effect,’ slow smart grid deployment, experts say, Utility Dive

Utility Sought Repeated Rate Increases to Make Up for $285M in Under-Earnings, Audit Finds, NJ Spotlight

 

Editorial/Opinion

Can Mass. launch the fusion revolution,? CommonWealth Magazine

Powering through — and beyond — the crisis, Utility Dive

LETTER: Holtec and spent fuel rods, Wicked Local Plymouth

Why We Need Renewable Natural Gas, Microgrid Knowledge

Toll taken by Hoosac Wind, Berkshire Eagle via National Wind Watch

Letter to the editor: Renegotiate CMP corridor so Maine gets a better deal, Press Herald

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

Energy News for week ending April 24, 2020

Secretive Group | Rejected | Increased Performance | Complex Power

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pandemic Shutdown Is Speeding Up The Collapse Of Coal, NPR

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Net-zero target gets mixed reviews, CommonWealth Magazine

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

 

EVs

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

 

Nuclear

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

The Nuclear Industry Pushes Back Against Coronavirus, Forbes

1st Shutdown Imminent At Indian Point, Patch.com

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

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

NRC Delivers Briefing On Indian Point Decommissioning, WAMC

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Shedding light on complex power systems, MIT News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

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

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

Letter to the Editor: CMP headlines, Daily BullDog

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

Energy News for week ending April 17, 2020

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

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

We start with a State House News Service report via WBUR, “New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity. Industry groups on Wednesday largely welcomed the updated regulations that the Baker administration filed for a solar energy development program, saying the new rules will help the state meet its climate goals and help the solar industry as it deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, but some also said the update does not go far enough. The updated regulations for the state’s Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive program, which is designed to facilitate solar projects by ensuring financing, double the program’s capacity, expand eligibility criteria for low-income solar projects and encourage the adoption of energy storage technology…The regulations take effect Wednesday, the administration said. A public hearing will be held virtually in May and a public comment period will stay open until May 22. In the update, DOER expanded the program’s capacity from 1,600 to 3,200 megawatts, which the administration said ‘will create a stable runway for growth of solar to continue’ in Massachusetts. DOER also expanded the criteria for projects in low-income areas and established a set-aside to provide a more stable incentive rate for those projects.”

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

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

CESA launches 100% Clean Energy Collaborative, Renewable Energy World

Climate change affects everything — even the coronavirus, Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

Wind Turbine Factories Struggle For Parts in Virus Lockdown, Bloomberg

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

 

Solar

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

New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity, WBUR

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

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

 

Nuclear

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

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

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

Federal spending makes more energy assistance available, AP News

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

Will the Coronavirus Kill the Oil Industry?, New Yorker

Post-coronavirus economic recovery requires EV adoption, Utility Dive

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

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