Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Mass. needs to think bigger on offshore wind

Mass. needs to think bigger on offshore wind

Need bigger procurement to attract supply chain

MASSACHUSETTS HAS A ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION opportunity to build a world-class offshore wind industry. The Commonwealth has embarked on a series of procurements to develop at least 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind, enough to power 600,000 homes over the next 10 years, and will likely build much more than that. Millions of Bay State consumers will depend on(...)

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ISO study warns of precarious energy future

ISO study warns of precarious energy future

Most scenarios envision emergency actions, including rolling blackouts

A NEW STUDY by the operator of the region’s power grid warns that without additional natural gas pipeline capacity New England will face a precarious energy future, where emergency actions such as rolling blackouts are likely to become a reality on several days a year. The fuel security study by ISO-New England examined 23 different(...)

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Generators burned 2m barrels of oil over 15 days

Generators burned 2m barrels of oil over 15 days

Region’s power grid operator concerned about emissions limitations

FROM DECEMBER 25 UNTIL JANUARY 9, New England power generators burned close to 2 million barrels of oil, which is more than they burned during the rest of 2017 and all of 2016 combined. Oil is generally not a preferred fuel for producing electricity because it is relatively inefficient at generating power and it produces(...)

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More natural gas not answer to climate change

More natural gas not answer to climate change

Short-term answer is energy efficiency, insulation

AS MOTHERS AND CAREGIVERS, we are appalled that the executive director of the New England Petroleum Council, Stephen Dodge, characterizes concerned citizens as “environmental extremists” in his Commonwealth magazine opinion piece entitled “The Terrible Price of Inaction.” This narrative continues the petroleum industry’s long-term refusal to acknowledge the facts of climate disruption, the same disruption(...)

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Procurement not following regular playbook

Procurement not following regular playbook

Bidders for clean energy contract mount ‘outside’ campaigns

CENTRAL MAINE POWER sent out a press release and started running ads on Thursday questioning why Massachusetts electricity customers should pay an extra $2 billion over 20 years for clean energy. The Maine utility’s eye-catching question is just one example of how a Massachusetts procurement process for billions of dollars worth of clean energy has(...)

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With temps rising, power grid back to normal

With temps rising, power grid back to normal

Natural gas resumes dominant role; wholesale prices fall

WITH TEMPERATURES RISING, the New England power grid returned to normal on Wednesday as wholesale prices fell and generators returned to producing electricity using natural gas instead of oil. At 4:37 p.m. on Wednesday, the fuel mix of the region’s power generators was 53 percent natural gas, 25 percent nuclear, 8 percent renewables, 7 percent(...)

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DPU oks new fees on solar, wind installations

DPU oks new fees on solar, wind installations

Eversource: Net metering customers not paying their fair share

EVERSOURCE ENERGY CUSTOMERS who install new solar or wind installations on their property after December 31 of this year will face higher monthly charges under a ruling last week by the state Department of Public Utilities. The DPU approved a rate hike for Eversource at the end of November, but put off ruling on how(...)

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Pilgrim nuclear plant goes offline

Pilgrim nuclear plant goes offline

Outage adds to grid uncertainty, fuels pipeline debate

PILGRIM STATION, the nuclear power plant in Plymouth, took itself offline Thursday afternoon, adding uncertainty to efforts by the New England power grid operator to meet electricity demand as a powerful snowstorm gripped the region. Patrick O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the plant’s owner, Entergy, said Pilgrim was taken offline at 2:09 p.m. due to the(...)

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Cold snap putting squeeze on oil-fired power plants

Cold snap putting squeeze on oil-fired power plants

Generators running short on fuel, facing environmental restrictions

NEW ENGLAND’S POWER GRID OPERATOR said on Tuesday that the system is “operating under normal conditions,” but warned that the prolonged cold snap is driving up wholesale electricity prices and putting a squeeze on power plants that run on oil. Marcia Blomberg, a spokeswoman for ISO-New England, issued a statement saying high demand for natural(...)

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The terrible price of inaction

The terrible price of inaction

Region’s refusal to add pipeline capacity is costing us a lot

THIS WEEK NEW ENGLAND reached the terrible distinction of having the most expensive natural gas in the world. You read that correctly: Not just the highest natural gas prices in the United States, or in North America, but on the entire planet. When the spot-market price for natural gas hit $35.35 Tuesday at the main(...)

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