Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

New solar plan cuts subsidies in half

New solar plan cuts subsidies in half

Tradeoff for developers is more certainty on revenues

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION UNVEILED a next-generation solar incentive plan on Tuesday that is expected to cut in half the subsidies paid by the state’s electric ratepayers while giving developers more certainty about how much money they will receive under the program. The state’s previous solar incentive programs, developed during the administration of former governor Deval(...)

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Governors can wield influence over pipelines

Governors can wield influence over pipelines

Natural gas infrastructure is not just federal issue

WITH NEW FEDERAL ENERGY POLICIES evolving to be starkly at odds with our priorities in Massachusetts, it is vital that we understand what authority our state has to influence controversial new natural gas infrastructure projects. Complicating matters, the Baker administration continues to promote an abstract vision of expanded interstate natural gas pipeline capacity in our(...)

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Eversource seeks big distribution rate hike

Eversource seeks big distribution rate hike

Typical monthly bill would rise $8.45 in eastern MA

EVERSOURCE ON TUESDAY SOUGHT regulatory approval for a hefty increase in its distribution rates, a move that has the potential to sharply increase monthly utility bills in its service areas in eastern and western Massachusetts. Utility bills have four major components: customer service, distribution, transmission, and power supply charges. This rate filing only applies to(...)

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Three cheers for natural gas

Three cheers for natural gas

It’s the fuel of past, present, and future

NATURAL GAS HAS BEEN a resounding environmental success story for Massachusetts that has delivered every benefit environmentalists predicted it would back in the 1990s. Continued access to reliable supplies of natural gas will be critical to fulfilling Massachusetts’ renewable energy revolution in the 2020s and well beyond. Those are two realities we believe far too(...)

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Renewables not cheap

Renewables not cheap

Wind, solar far higher cost than ‘polluting energy’ sources

IN DECEMBER, A company called CleanChoice Energy mailed out a sales pitch to electricity customers in eastern Massachusetts. The letter acknowledged that 100 percent renewable energy from solar and wind would cost “a little more” than “polluting energy,” but said the added expense was worth it. “That’s because the energy you are choosing is better(...)

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Boost the Renewable Portfolio Standard

Boost the Renewable Portfolio Standard

A doubling of the yearly increase is needed

AT THE SAME TIME president-elect Donald Trump has loudly promised job creation measures, he has also vowed to invest in fossil fuel expansion, including the coal industry. These two promises are incompatible in the long term. With renewables poised to take the place of a dying coal industry, promoting development of the renewable energy sector(...)

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Baker sets emission reduction targets

Baker sets emission reduction targets

Targets power plants, goes easy on transportation

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION is taking aim at power plants and using a lighter touch with private vehicles as it seeks to comply with a court order requiring the state to set greenhouse gas emission targets by economic sector. The draft regulations issued on Friday call for greenhouse gas emissions to fall another 7.2 percent from(...)

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Eversource finds a loophole

Eversource finds a loophole

Offshore wind venture raises ‘clear conflict’

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN EVERSOURCE/DONG Energy joint venture for offshore wind development should send shivers up the spine of anyone who recalls the strategy behind restructuring the Massachusetts electric industry almost 20 years ago. This massive effort with deep impacts on the marketplace is exactly the kind of transaction the law was designed to prevent.(...)

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Winter reliability efforts go only so far

Winter reliability efforts go only so far

Fuel delivery constraints threaten the power grid

ISO NEW ENGLAND, the operator of the region’s power system, recently announced that electricity supplies should be sufficient to meet the region’s demand for electricity this winter barring “unexpected resource outages or fuel delivery constraints.”  For those who expect affordable, reliable electricity 24/7, this should be a cause for concern. Natural gas generates about half(...)

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DONG, Eversource form Bay State Wind

DONG, Eversource form Bay State Wind

50-50 partnership will bid on offshore power contracts

DONG ENERGY, one of three companies vying for offshore wind contracts from Massachusetts, on Tuesday announced a 50-50 partnership with Eversource Energy, a well-connected regional utility that has crafted similar arrangements with hydroelectric and natural gas pipeline companies. The offshore wind partnership is calling itself Bay State Wind. DONG, a Danish company, has a federal(...)

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