Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

2 key hurdles face Mass. power line to Quebec

2 key hurdles face Mass. power line to Quebec

Either one could undermine Bay State climate change plans

A PROPOSED power line bringing hydroelectricity from Quebec into New England via Maine faces two key hurdles in the coming months that could make or break climate change efforts in Massachusetts. The power line project, called New England Clean Energy Connect, is being financed by Massachusetts electricity ratepayers. If built, it would deliver 1,200 megawatts(...)

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Electric vehicle rebate needs to increase, expand

Electric vehicle rebate needs to increase, expand

Charging infrastructure also needs to grow rapidly

FROM THE GRIDLOCK of the Southeast Expressway to Logan Airport and the Cape Cod bridges, traffic congestion is so commonplace in Massachusetts that it’s easy to forget transportation is also our leading cause of climate pollution. All this movement of people and goods fuels the extreme weather trends that threaten our coastal communities, statewide economic(...)

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Beacon Hill eyeing tradeoffs on offshore wind

Beacon Hill eyeing tradeoffs on offshore wind

Are higher power prices worth it to secure more onshore development?

A MAJOR POLICY DEBATE is taking shape on Beacon Hill between those who see offshore wind as the key to meeting the state’s climate change goals, and those who see the industry as needing to do more than that – specifically, spurring significant economic development in the state. The debate centers around the price of(...)

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Baker reverses course on utility contracting

Baker reverses course on utility contracting

Files bill to put DOER in charge of procuring clean power

ONE OF THE MOST bizarre contracting arrangements in state government may soon be coming to an end. In 2016, the Legislature passed and Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law containing a provision putting the state’s three private utilities in charge of negotiating contracts for clean electricity on behalf of the state. Eversource, National Grid, and(...)

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Baker shifts thinking on offshore wind

Baker shifts thinking on offshore wind

Calls for major infrastructure investment, end to price cap

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER signaled a major shift in his thinking on offshore wind Wednesday, unveiling legislation that would entice developers to put down roots in Massachusetts by spending $750 million of federal funding on infrastructure improvements and removing price caps on procurements. At a national offshore wind conference in Boston, Baker said he wanted to(...)

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Neal should broaden tax breaks for solar

Neal should broaden tax breaks for solar

Investment tax credit should become refundable

IN RECENT MONTHS, communities across Massachusetts have been reeling from the effects of extreme weather. In response, state officials recently announced a series of grants and policy initiatives aimed at combating climate change and protecting against its impacts. But what many don’t realize is, our elected officials are in a position to drive investments in sustainability that reach far(...)

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Plotting the future of the region's power grid

Plotting the future of the region’s power grid

Keeping electricity flowing will be the key to decarbonization

DRIVE AROUND MASSACHUSETTS and you’d be hard pressed not to see a home with solar panels. Wind turbines are spinning over the Berkshires and coastal communities, with more planned for off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It’s no secret that the region’s power system is undergoing a significant change. To tackle the existential(...)

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Vineyard Wind signs port deal with Salem

Vineyard Wind signs port deal with Salem

Deal contingent on firm winning state power contract

SALEM, A LATECOMER to the scramble for offshore wind business, snagged a deal on Thursday with Vineyard Wind, which promised to help make the North Shore community the state’s second major wind port if the company wins an upcoming power contract. The deal, announced in Salem at a press conference with Mayor Kim Driscoll and(...)

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Don't get carried away with fusion talk

Don’t get carried away with fusion talk

Still a long road ahead; keep shift to renewables moving forward

Commonwealth Fusion System’s breakthrough in superconducting electromagnets is impressive and represents a significant step forward in fusion research. However, as is always the case when a start-up trumpets its latest achievement, it’s useful to examine such news in a broader context. Arthur Turrell’s new book, The Star Builders, gives an excellent overview of the nascent international fusion(...)

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Fusion energy nears Kitty Hawk moment

Fusion energy nears Kitty Hawk moment

With new magnet technology, ‘there is nothing stopping us’

IN TRYING TO EXPLAIN their recent fusion energy breakthrough, Dennis Whyte of MIT and Bob Mumgaard of Commonwealth Fusion Systems reached back to the dawn of aviation. Fusion could be a life-saver for the planet, producing carbon-free, relatively inexpensive energy with no waste byproducts. It works the same way the sun does, by merging two(...)

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