Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Lawmakers hike assessment on utilities 50%

Lawmakers hike assessment on utilities 50%

Money will be used to fund DPU budget, which is increasing 54%

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THOUGH LAWMAKER LEFT a handful of proposed taxes on the cutting room floor when they compromised on a budget, the fiscal year 2020 spending plan being reviewed by Gov. Charlie Baker includes a 50 percent increase in the annual assessment imposed upon gas and electric utility companies. The assessment of a(...)

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Pacheco raises concerns on offshore wind pricing

Pacheco raises concerns on offshore wind pricing

Urges governor to reject language in budget

SEN. MARC PACHECO of Taunton raised an interesting policy issue on Monday when he spoke out against a provision in the Legislature’s budget that would tweak the way the state procures offshore wind power. Under legislation passed in 2016, each successive contract for offshore wind must come in at a price below the last one.(...)

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Vineyard Wind says project at risk

Vineyard Wind says project at risk

Federal environmental approval needed in 4-6 weeks

VINEYARD WIND says its offshore wind farm could be in jeopardy if the federal government fails to approve its environmental impact statement over the next six weeks. In a carefully worded statement issued early Thursday morning, the company appeared to be prodding federal officials at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to move quickly to(...)

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29 senators urge DEP to block Weymouth gas facility

29 senators urge DEP to block Weymouth gas facility

5 of 6 Republicans signed letter to Baker administration

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE Nearly three-quarters of the Senate penned a letter Thursday urging the Department of Environmental Protection commissioner to rescind approval for a controversial natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, a significant escalation from what had been mostly staunch local opposition. The two-and-a-half page letter, signed with bipartisan support by 29 of the Senate’s(...)

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AIM to Baker: Modify the offshore wind price cap

AIM to Baker: Modify the offshore wind price cap

Business group worried bidders could become scarce

ONE OF THE ORIGINAL ARCHITECTS of the declining price cap on offshore wind solicitations is now calling on the Baker administration to scale it back. Robert Rio, senior vice president and counsel at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, one of the state’s leading business groups, sent a letter to the Baker administration on July 5 urging(...)

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Feds: Vineyard Wind review window ends in 2020

Feds: Vineyard Wind review window ends in 2020

Will environmental evaluation jeopardize tight construction timetable?

THE FEDERAL AGENCY evaluating the environmental impact of Vineyard Wind provided no explanation for its decision to extend the time period for review beyond Friday, but noted it has until March 2020 to complete its work, several months after the offshore wind developer had planned to begin construction. Stephen Boutwell, a spokesman for the Bureau(...)

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Unsettling news for Vineyard Wind

Unsettling news for Vineyard Wind

Feds put off key environmental decision with no explanation

VINEYARD WIND, the company seeking to build a large wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, faced some uncertainty on Wednesday after federal regulators said they wouldn’t be taking action Friday on a key environmental approval as had been expected. The company posted a statement on its website downplaying the significance of the action,(...)

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Don’t end competitive electricity market

Don’t end competitive electricity market

Despite Healey concerns, consumers have benefited

IN 1998, MASSACHUSETTS made the groundbreaking decision to deregulated the electricity industry – declaring for themselves that they should have the right to choose their electric supplier. Now, more than two decades later, despite the will of the voters declared all those years ago, legislation has been proposed aimed at putting an end to the(...)

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Despite emissions concerns, Hydro-Quebec contracts OK’d

Despite emissions concerns, Hydro-Quebec contracts OK’d

DPU rejects criticism from Healey, enviros, power generators

THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES on Tuesday approved massive hydro-electricity contracts between the state’s three utilities and Hydro-Quebec, rejecting arguments from a broad range of skeptics questioning the environmental benefits of the deal. The hydro-electricity will be produced in Quebec and shipped across the border into Maine, where a transmission line built by Central(...)

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Perfect port an elusive goal for East Coast offshore wind

Perfect port an elusive goal for East Coast offshore wind

Industry urges regional collaboration

NORTHEAST SEAPORTS ARE inadequate to meet the needs of the offshore wind industry, and ideas for filling that gap could create tension between the sometimes competing goals of those overseeing the burgeoning sector. “Developers have studied all the ports up and down the East Coast several times now. What we’re really looking for is large(...)

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