Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Getting to yes on climate change response

Getting to yes on climate change response

Those with differing views need to listen more closely

CLIMATE CHANGE is real.  So too is a massive transformation underway of electric power generation markets and transmission networks.  That transformation is largely driven by public policies focused on electrification of vehicles, buildings, and industrial processes.  This electrification, to achieve climate goals, will depend increasingly on electricity from wind and solar resources. Implementing these policies(...)

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Mass.-financed power line from Quebec clears another NextEra hurdle

Mass.-financed power line from Quebec clears another NextEra hurdle

FERC orders circuit breaker upgrade at Seabrook nuke

THE COMPANY seeking to build a Massachusetts-financed transmission line carrying hydro-electricity from Quebec to Maine cleared another hurdle on its comeback trail when federal regulators dismissed objections raised by the nuclear power plant Seabrook Station. In a 52-page ruling, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled on Wednesday that Seabrook must upgrade a circuit breaker at(...)

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Citizens Energy pushing community solar

Citizens Energy pushing community solar

It’s like every person gets a panel or two from our solar farm’

CITIZENS ENERGY HAS changed with the times. Once known for giving heating oil away, the nonprofit company founded by Joe Kennedy II – and now managed by his son, Joe III – has turned to leveraging solar power to drive down electricity bills for low-income consumers.  A project the company developed on a former Superfund(...)

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Mass. offshore wind developers stalling for time

Mass. offshore wind developers stalling for time

Complaints about cost pressures bubbling up elsewhere

THE STATE’S TWO leading offshore wind developers appear to be stalling for time as they explore whether the cast of new players on Beacon Hill may be more receptive to letting them back out of or tweak their existing power purchase agreements. Avangrid, the company behind Commonwealth Wind, filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging a(...)

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Region’s aging nuclear power plants drawing interest

Region’s aging nuclear power plants drawing interest

Roy to file bill allowing Mass. to explore purchasing Millstone electricity

NUCLEAR POWER APPEARS to be making a bit of a comeback. For decades, the trendlines have not been good, as aging reactors have found it difficult to compete against power generated by natural gas and overcome resistance from environmental advocates. Vermont Yankee in Vernon, Vermont, shut down at the end of 2014. Pilgrim Nuclear Power(...)

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Despite delays, Hydro-Quebec still ready to honor its Mass. contract

Despite delays, Hydro-Quebec still ready to honor its Mass. contract

Provincial utility faces new challenges dealing with climate change

IT’S BEEN 3 ½ YEARS since Massachusetts utilities negotiated a massive power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec, and the electricity still isn’t close to flowing because of repeated delays in building a transmission line from the Canadian border down through Maine. Hydro-Quebec officials say they are ready to deliver the power as soon as the transmission(...)

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3 steps for equitable climate action

3 steps for equitable climate action

Go electric, monitor air, site infrastructure responsibl

JANUARY 2023 marks the beginning of a new year. For Massachusetts, it also marks the beginning of a new administration with the historic inauguration of Gov. Maura Healey, as well as a new legislative session with new (and incumbent) legislators.   Both Healey as a candidate, and the Legislature during the last legislative session, have made(...)

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Lawmakers walk tightrope on wind power contracts

Lawmakers walk tightrope on wind power contracts

Back penalties for defaults, but seek to preserve competition

THE LEGISLATURE’S ENERGY experts say it makes sense to penalize CommonWealth Wind and Mayflower Wind if they default on their recently approved power purchase contracts, but the lawmakers don’t want the penalties to include a ban on participation in an upcoming offshore wind procurement. The House and Senate chairs of the Legislature’s Utilities, Telecommunications, and(...)

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New England electricity markets very messy

New England electricity markets very messy

Dustup in Ct. over this winter’s sky-high rates

OVER THE CHRISTMAS holiday, Gov.-elect Maura Healey’s call for Massachusetts to obtain all of its electricity from fossil-free sources by 2030 looked a lot like a pipe dream. During a four-day stretch, New England power generators burned an estimated 31.5 million gallons of fuel oil to produce electricity. Normally, oil doesn’t even figure in the(...)

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Power grid put under stress over Christmas holiday

Power grid put under stress over Christmas holiday

Oil became dominant fuel, reserve supplies came up short

A correction has been added to the story. OVER THE CHRISTMAS holiday, the New England power grid relied heavily on oil to meet the region’s electricity needs and for a 2 ½-hour period on December 24 had to scramble to cover a temporary shortfall in power supplies. The shortfall on the afternoon of December 24(...)

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