Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Has the Mass. solar gamble paid off?

Has the Mass. solar gamble paid off?

Like other energy bets, costs high, hidden

HOW MUCH SHOULD we pay to promote solar energy in Massachusetts? Recent state government programs have resulted in the commitment of at least $10 billion of consumer funds—well over $1,500 for every man, woman, and child in the state. Is there a need for more government-directed subsidization, or have we reached a point of diminishing(...)

Read More »

Wind firms pay $135m each for offshore tracts

Wind firms pay $135m each for offshore tracts

Interior Department called the auction a 'bidding bonanza'

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THREE LEASE WINNERS have each agreed to pay $135 million to gain access to ocean tracts off the coast of Massachusetts where they may someday build commercial-scale wind energy installations. The results of Thursday’s federal government auction of 390,000 acres were announced Friday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The(...)

Read More »

Why are electricity prices spiking this winter?

Why are electricity prices spiking this winter?

Baker administration report blames last winter

RETAIL ELECTRICITY PRICES are going up this winter in eastern Massachusetts because of the price spike that occurred during an extreme cold spell last winter. The explanation for the rising price of electricity – it will be at its highest level since 2015 – was contained in an energy plan released on Wednesday by the(...)

Read More »

Price of electricity going up in E. Mass.

Price of electricity going up in E. Mass.

Cost this winter will be highest since 2015

THE PRICE OF ELECTRICITY in eastern Massachusetts is going up this winter to its highest level since 2015. Eversource Energy said its price for so-called basic service will be nearly 13.6 cents a kilowatt hour this winter in the eastern part of the state, up 0.7 cents from last winter and its highest level since(...)

Read More »

Region’s electricity market in trouble

Region’s electricity market in trouble

Pipeline constraints, need for more renewables disrupting competitive wholesale market

GORDON VAN WELIE is sitting in a conference room in Holyoke. Behind him is a bank of windows that look down on a control room with a massive screen showing the second-by-second status of New England’s power grid. On this day in November, everything is running smoothly, with the supply of electricity easily keeping pace(...)

Read More »

Boston, too, needs to do more on climate change

Boston, too, needs to do more on climate change

Build offshore wind, electrify transportation sector

CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL and it is here. In Boston, the impacts of climate change are already tangible. In January of this year a massive nor’easter brought a devastating storm surge with ice chunks floating down Atlantic Avenue. The image of a rogue dumpster riding the surf down the streets in the Seaport and tides(...)

Read More »

We need a Green New Deal in Massachusetts

We need a Green New Deal in Massachusetts

Deteriorating climate requires more aggressive action

THE LATEST CLIMATE SCIENCE has come in, and it’s time to update our state’s climate laws. As a graduate student working on climate change in 2008, I was proud to help lead hundreds of students from across Massachusetts to campaign effusively for the passage of our state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. It was, and(...)

Read More »

Let’s encourage offshore wind competition

Let’s encourage offshore wind competition

One way to do that is to separate transmission from generation

THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR’S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced last month that it will auction three new wind energy lease areas off the Massachusetts coast, instead of the two that were initially forecast. The move provides a fresh gust of good news for the emerging wind industry in the United States. By mapping out(...)

Read More »

Cautionary offshore wind tale out of Va.

Cautionary offshore wind tale out of Va.

State may be getting hoodwinked by Dominion Energy

MASSACHUSETTS EARNED PLAUDITS earlier this year for its handling of an offshore wind procurement, but not every state’s pursuit of renewable energy is getting rave reviews. Reports out of Virginia suggest the state may be getting hoodwinked by one of its leading utilities. The cautionary Virginia tale began innocently enough earlier this year. Angry about(...)

Read More »

Merrimack Valley tragedy offers climate change opportunity

Merrimack Valley tragedy offers climate change opportunity

Rebuild where necessary, but let’s go greener where possible

IN THE LAST TWO MONTHS, we have once again witnessed the human and financial impact of the world’s addiction to fossil fuels: forest fires in the Arctic; devastated communities and lives in the Carolinas and Florida; and, sadly, here at home, the loss of life and treasure from the explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North(...)

Read More »