Tag Archives: offshore wind

Energy News for week ending July 31, 2020

Roadmap | Healthier Kids

Happy Friday afternoon.

Running late today so just a quick recap.

From CommonWealth Magazine, “The House unveiled a climate change bill on Wednesday that directs the executive branch of government to create a roadmap for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and includes sections dealing with solar power subsidies, grid modernization, clean energy jobs, and municipal light plants. The bill is expected to be taken up in the House on Thursday and then go to a conference committee that will be charged with sorting out differences with a Senate bill that is broader in scope and far more detailed in its instructions. The House bill requires the administration to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and sets interim goals for 2030 and 2040. It charges the administration with coming up with a roadmap of policies, regulations, legislative recommendations, and carbon pricing mechanisms to reach the targets.”

And some good news resulting from RGGI brought to us by Environmental Health News. “A climate change initiative in the Northeastern U.S. designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions has also greatly reduced harmful air pollution and related impacts to kids’ health, such as asthma, preterm births and low birth weights, according to a new study. Led by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the study found the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has reduced fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and, due to this reduction, the region avoided an estimated 537 cases of child asthma, 112 preterm births, 98 cases of autism spectrum disorder, and 56 cases of low birthweight from 2009 to 2014. By avoiding such impacts to children’s health, the researchers estimate an economic savings of between $191 million to $350 million.”

Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

State Offers New Option for Energy Efficiency Project Financing, Banker & Tradesman

NY’s investor-owned utilities work to increase access to energy efficiency for low-income households, Daily Energy Insider

Gillette Stadium Turns to Energy Efficient Servers to Reduce Annual CO2 Output, Environment and Energy Leader

This prof is shedding light on energy injustice — and how to fix it, Grist

Electrification drives the need for energy efficiency, Smart Energy Intl.

GSA Picks 4 Building Mgmt Concepts for Energy Efficiency Pilot, ExecutiveGov

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

House climate change bill calls for roadmap, CommonWealth Magazine

Q&A With Rishi Reddi, The State’s Top Environmental Justice Leader, WBUR

Biden calls for 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Here’s how far we have to go., Washington Post

Clean energy to assist over 350,00 low-to-moderate income households in NYS, InformNNY.com

Microsoft Eyes New Tool in Decarbonization Quest: Green Hydrogen, Greentech Media

Mayors to state: Environmental justice can’t wait, Lowell Sun

Believe It Or Not, Forests Migrate — But Not Fast Enough For Climate Change, NPR

Biden plots $2tn green revolution but faces wind and solar backlash, The Guardian

A Northeast US climate initiative has had a major side benefit—healthier children, Environmental Health News

 

Wind

The money case for offshore wind, Axios

Massachusetts Institutions Get Grants for Offshore Wind Workforce Training, Maritime Jobs News

Policy Shift Aims to Bring More Offshore Wind Sooner, State House News Service (subscriber content)

 

Solar

A blow to small solar, a win for states and utilities? Regulators, analysts assess FERC’s PURPA rule, Utility Dive

 

EVs

Utilities must prioritize customer experience to advance role of electric vehicles on the grid: experts, Utility Dive

Inside Clean Energy: How Soon Will An EV Cost the Same as a Gasoline Vehicle? Sooner Than You Think., Inside Climate News

 

Nuclear

America Wants to Put a Nuclear Power Plant on the Moon, Popular Mechanics

 

Gas

Town group tracking gas leaks seeks scent of danger, yourArlington.com

Mass. gas ban backers press ahead after state strikes down 1st East Coast bylaw, S&P Global

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

‘Tidal Wave’ Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat, NPR

Why peak electricity usage matters, CommonWealth Magazine

ISO-NE: Minor COVID Impacts on Summer Load, Forecasts, RTO Insider (subscriber content)

Hackers Are Targeting the Remote Workers Who Keep Your Lights On, Bloomberg

US energy use hit 30-year low during pandemic shutdowns, AP News

No easy fix for upgrading power lines to deliver wind and solar power, energy regulator says, Washington Examiner

Maine’s most expensive ballot fight ever unites natural gas companies and environmentalists, Washington Examiner

Mass. in middle of Maine power fight, CommonWealth Magazine

 

Opinion

Op-ed: A cleaner economy must be a priority as we rebuild Mass., BBJ (Subscriber content)

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, New England Energy News, Northeast Energy News

Energy News for week ending May 29, 2020

Chafing | Higher bills | Empire State Building

 

Happy Friday afternoon.

It’s been a very busy week so my apologies, but I don’t have time for a full recap.

Here are a few stories though that caught our attention:

 

Have a great weekend and as always, stay safe.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Global Glut Keeps a Lid on Natural-Gas Prices, Wall St. Journal

EPA backtracks on fish-protecting requirements in long-delayed Merrimack coal plant permit, Utility Dive

Coal’s Decline Continues with 13 Plant Closures Announced in 2020, E&E News via Scientific American

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

U.S. Consumed More Renewables Than Coal for First Time in 134 Years, Wall St. Journal

Cuomo calls for Canada-to-New York City power line to deliver clean energy, Financial Post

Green group proposes nearly $6T infrastructure and clean energy stimulus plan, The Hill

 

Wind

Coast Guard favors turbine corridors sought by energy developers, Herald News

US May Host First Factory for Siemens Gamesa’s 14MW Offshore Turbine, Greentech Media

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

Ohio OKs North America’s first freshwater offshore wind farm — with a huge caveat, Electrek

 

Solar

Massachusetts’ Solar Industry Chafes at New Land-Use Restrictions, Greentech Media

FERC Might Rewrite Solar Net Metering. Here’s What That Could Mean, Greentech media

24 Congressional Democrats urge FERC to reject net metering overhaul, Utility Dive

As Commercial Solar Takes a Hit From COVID-19, Virtual PPAs Continue Their Rise, Greentech Media

US solar developers get reprieve on bifacial panel prices as judge rejects USTR move on tariffs, Utility Dive

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Energy efficiency helped the Empire State Building save money and cut carbon. It can help you, too., Washington Post

Green Mountain Power expands BYOD and Tesla battery programs as it targets fossil peakers, Utility Dive

Landfills emerge as promising battery storage sites to back up renewable energy, Utility Dive

After Bold Promise, New Jersey’s Energy Storage Plan Remains a Mystery, Greentech Media

 

EVs

Powering EVs is cheaper than diesel, gas in the largest US cities — Atlanta and Boston are exceptions, Utility Dive

Retail co-location may prove key to sustainable funding for EV charging, panel finds, Utility Dive

Largest all-electric aircraft to make maiden flight, CNN.com

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Pandemic pulls NY power prices down further from already-low 2019 levels, S&P Global

Lockdowns are pushing up home electric bills, and air conditioning season is hardly here yet, Boston Globe

Data Tool Shows Pandemic’s Impact on Power Prices, Power Magazine

Energy sector confident about pandemic operations, WWLP

No Resiliency Strategy? You’re Taking a Big Risk, Report Warns Utilities, Microgrid Knowledge

 

Opinion

Don’t knock natural gas, CommonWealth Magazine

Energy won’t be the same when this is over, Washington Post

COVID-19’s lessons for climate change, CommonWealth Magazine

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

Energy News for week ending May 22, 2020

Big deal | Curtailed | Zinc-air

Happy Friday afternoon.

We start with a piece from the Granite Geek. “Rooftop solar is becoming a big deal in New England. One sunny afternoon earlier this month, reports ISO-New England, the six-state region had roughly 3,200 MW of “behind the meter” solar – the rooftop stuff, as compared to stand-alone solar farms that feed straight to the grid. This was a record, says the folks who run our power system, although it’s a record that will be falling frequently in coming years, since they expect many thousands more megawatts of solar to be added. How much is 3,200 megawatts? It’s almost three times the output of Seabrook Station nuclear power plant, so we’re talking serious output…”

For this next story we move from solar to wind. From S&P Global Platts, “Portion of New England offshore wind could be curtailed by 2030: ISO. ISO New England analysis made public Wednesday estimated about 10% of the total 2030 offshore wind power portfolio connected into southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island would be “spilled,” or curtailed, under certain assumptions due to transmission constraints and a glut of supply. Transmission developer Anbaric requested ISO-NE perform a study reviewing the impact on energy market prices, air emissions and regional fuel security of three offshore wind power scenarios for target year 2030: 8,000 MW, 10,000 MW and 12,000 MW. An ISO-NE presentation during an earlier Planning Committee meeting discussed the Anbaric economic study for scenarios with 8,000 MW to 12,000 MW of offshore wind additions in southern New England. The addition of 8,000 MW to 12,000 MW of offshore wind plus assumed resource retirements of nearly 4,500 MW result in southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island (SEMA/RI) export interface transmission congestion, according to the presentation. Other key points include a finding that connecting more offshore wind close to load centers outside of southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island, especially the Mystic and Millstone substations, would reduce the congestion hours of the southeast Massachusetts/Rhode Island export interface.”

Our new tech feature this week comes from Recharge. “New zinc-air battery is ‘cheaper, safer and far longer-lasting than lithium-ion.’ A new type of battery is coming onto the market that can store multiple days’ worth of energy, that doesn’t degrade, can’t possibly explode and is up to five times cheaper than lithium-ion, claimed its developer as it prepares to pilot the technology in New York state. The zinc-air hybrid flow battery developed by Canadian company Zinc8 has the potential to disrupt the entire energy-storage market — making wind and solar farms baseload and even replacing the need for transmission grid upgrades in many places…Zinc-air can beat lithium-ion batteries on price because the latter can generally only hold about four hours’ worth of energy at any one time, so an eight-hour storage system would require two batteries. By contrast, the storage capacity of the Zinc8 system can just be made bigger by increasing the size of the storage tank and the volume of the electrolyte it contains. The capital cost of an eight-hour Zinc8 storage is about $250/kWh, falling to $100/kWh for a 32-hour system and $60/kWh for 100 hours. By contrast, lithium-ion projects cost about $300/kWh for any duration over eight hours.

That’s the recap for this week. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives in service to our country.

And as always, stay safe.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Tree Deaths in Urban Settings Are Linked to Leaks from Natural Gas Pipelines Below Streets, Inside Climate News

Cuomo administration cites new climate law in denying controversial New York, New Jersey pipeline, Politico NY

Devastated By Coronavirus, New York’s Pipeline Politics Ensure A Tougher Second Round, Forbes.com

First gas disaster settlement checks going out Friday, Eagle Tribune

Answers Sought Regarding Explosion and Pipeline Construction in Burrillville, EcoRI

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

‘Devil is in the details.’ The fight for grid carbon pricing, E&E News

Majority of Mainers support bold energy, transportation policies to address climate change, MaineBeacon.com

Wind and Solar Profits: The Race Between Falling Costs and Declining Revenue, Greentech Media

Traffic Is Way Down, Due To Lockdowns, But Air Pollution? Not So Much, WGBH

Trump admin slaps solar, wind operators with retroactive rent bills, Reuters

Vatican ties virus rethink to pope’s environmental appeal, AP News

The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows, Washington Post

Americans See Climate as a Concern, Even Amid Coronavirus Crisis, New York Times

Global emissions plunged an unprecedented 17 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Post

Global green energy growth to fall for first time in 20 years: IEA, Reuters

Why some spots on the planet are heating up faster than others, Washington Post

Group Says It Will Launch World’s Largest Green Hydrogen Project, Power Magazine

With CT’s trash future in flux, food-waste recycler hopes for bigger role, Hartford Business Journal

More US Power Generated This Year Expected To Come From Renewables Than From Coal, WGBH

 

Wind

Connecticut Utilities Move Forward with Park City Wind PPAs, Offshorewind.biz

Brattle Study Highlights Benefits of Offshore Grid, RTO Insider

Siemens Gamesa Launches 14MW Offshore Wind Turbine, World’s Largest

Four New Studies to Examine Fisheries, Offshore Wind, South Coast Today

Portion of New England offshore wind could be curtailed by 2030: ISO, S&P Global

 

Solar

Rooftop solar is becoming a big deal in New England, Granite Geek

5 Wind Energy Giants Embracing Solar Power, Greentech Media

Utility regulator denies controversial Bennington solar project, VT Digger

Why is cloudy Syracuse suddenly a solar farm magnet?, Syracuse.com

Coronavirus Wipes Out 5 Years of US Solar Job Growth, Greentech Media

COVID-19 Impacts on the U.S. Solar Industry, SEIA

Why (and How) the Solar Finance Market Is Changing in This Crisis, Greentech Media

National Solar Tour Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You, NA Clean Energy

Proposed solar farm in Gorham up for review June 1, Press Herald

DEEP rejects Candlewood Solar permit in New Milford, News Times

Melrose church installs community solar project, Wicked Local Melrose

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

Can Free Smart Thermostats Get Homeowners to Enroll in Summertime Demand Response,? Greentech Media

New zinc-air battery is ‘cheaper, safer and far longer-lasting than lithium-ion,’ Recharge

Con Edison commits $1.5 billion to energy efficiency, Utility Dive

 

EVs

As Covid-19 Hits Electric Vehicles, Some Thrive, Others Die, Bloomberg

HEVO to Launch US Manufacturing for Wireless Electric Vehicle Charger, Greentech Media

 

Nuclear

Tonopah quake bolsters Nevada’s case against Yucca dumpsite, LasVegas Sun

Brick by brick: Finding families of loved ones who worked at Pilgrim Station, Patriot Ledger

America Just Made a Huge Investment in Next-Gen Nuclear Power, Popular Mechanics

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

The Drive to Replace Summer-Only ‘Peaker’ Power Plants, Wired

Mainers get more time to pay bills, utilities get pinched as virus reduces demand, WGME

ISO-New England: 2019 transmission-outage coordination stats and goals, Electric Energy Online

‘Terrified’ energy workers press feds for safety standard, E&E News

New York grants flexibility, works to limit ‘bad actors’ in demand response programs hit by COVID-19, Utility Dive

Unpaid utility bills, lower usage threaten to push rates higher in Maine, Press Herald

LIPA officials planning to retire at least 1 power generating unit, Newsday

Mass. Hydropower Project Stymied By Maine Ballot Question Dispute, WBUR

 

Opinion

Eastie needs straight answers from Eversource, CommonWealth Magazine

We need to start using less natural gas, CommonWealth Magazine

Gov. Phil Murphy needs to unplug NJ Transit’s power plant | Opinion, northjersey.com

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce: NECEC offers some hope for Maine’s economy, Central Maine.com

Rhode Island Can’t Delay Efforts to Decarbonize Its Economy, EcoRI

INSIGHT: Will AI Increase or Decrease Power Grid Efficiency,? Bloomberg Law

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

Energy News for week ending May 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 May 1, 2020

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

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Biomass Fiasco, Counterpunch.org

 

Wind

Mayflower Wind airs offshore plans, MV Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, What Exactly Is Community Solar,? Greentech Media

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

New Incentives Help University Save Energy, Money, UMassLowell

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

Reading Municipal Light Department offering lawn equipment rebates, Wicked Local

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

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

 

EVs

Electric vehicle roadmap released for CT, Middletown News

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

 

Nuclear

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

Accelerating reactor decommissioning, Nuclear Engineering International

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

Residential electricity use increasing amid pandemic, Western Mass News

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy News for week ending April 24, 2020

Secretive Group | Rejected | Increased Performance | Complex Power

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend and stay well.

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pandemic Shutdown Is Speeding Up The Collapse Of Coal, NPR

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Net-zero target gets mixed reviews, CommonWealth Magazine

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Solar

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

 

EVs

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

 

Nuclear

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

The Nuclear Industry Pushes Back Against Coronavirus, Forbes

1st Shutdown Imminent At Indian Point, Patch.com

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

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

NRC Delivers Briefing On Indian Point Decommissioning, WAMC

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

Shedding light on complex power systems, MIT News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

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

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

Letter to the Editor: CMP headlines, Daily BullDog

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

Energy News for week ending April 17, 2020

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

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

CESA launches 100% Clean Energy Collaborative, Renewable Energy World

Climate change affects everything — even the coronavirus, Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wind

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

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

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

Wind Turbine Factories Struggle For Parts in Virus Lockdown, Bloomberg

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

 

Solar

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

New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity, WBUR

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

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

 

Nuclear

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

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

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

Federal spending makes more energy assistance available, AP News

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

Will the Coronavirus Kill the Oil Industry?, New Yorker

Post-coronavirus economic recovery requires EV adoption, Utility Dive

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

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

Energy News for week ending April 10, 2020

CCC | Decarbonize the Peak | Float

Happy Friday afternoon.

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

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

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

Weymouth Compressor Construction Continues Despite Pandemic, WBUR

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

Massachusetts Races to Decarbonize the Peak, National Law Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wind

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

Vineyard files Park City Wind mitigation plan, Renews.biz

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

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

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

Turbine work upsets residents, The Observer (NY)

 

Solar

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

Officials outraged over proposed solar siting changes, Hudson Valley 360

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

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

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

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

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

 

EVs

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

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

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

 

Nuclear

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

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

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

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

Mainers know truth about CMP, Central Maine

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

Energy News for week ending March 27, 2020

Momentum slows | All Electric Home Boom | Sleek Reactor Housing

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Natural Gas/Oil/Pipeline/Drilling

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Climate Change/Renewables/RGGI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change, Axios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wind

Federal study surveys spawning Atlantic Cod, Cape Cod Times

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

Commission Dismisses Last Wind Project In Vermont, Caledonian Record

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

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

 

Solar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy Efficiency/Storage

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

 

EVs

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

Electric car emissions myth ‘busted,’ BBC

The Vast Potential of Managed Electric Vehicle Charging, Greentech Media

Coronavirus pumps the brakes on the electric vehicle revolution, Grist

 

Nuclear

This Sleek Building Is Actually a Nuclear Reactor, Architectural Digest

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

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

NRC Preparing Rule Changes Due to Coronavirus, POWER Magazine

 

Market/Grid/Policy/Prices

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

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

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

How Electricity Use Changes During a Pandemic, Greentech Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editorial/Opinion

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

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

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