Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Criticism of green hydrogen misses the mark

Criticism of green hydrogen misses the mark

The technology will address climate issues, save jobs

A YEAR AGO,  President Biden signed into law the single most sweeping climate bill in American history. Supported by virtually the entire Democratic Party and environmental leaders like the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club and 350.org, the Inflation Reduction Act will lower carbon emissions and help us get closer to “net zero” by 2050.(...)

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Don't let utilities hijack offshore wind

Don’t let utilities hijack offshore wind

Using renewables to produce green hydrogen is not efficient

RECENT DISPUTES between offshore wind operators and Massachusetts regulators highlight how our clean energy future is far from guaranteed. The two projects in dispute, Commonwealth Wind and SouthCoast Wind (formerly Mayflower Wind), together with Vineyard Wind Project 1, make up 3.2 gigawatts of offshore wind energy Massachusetts has planned for 2030. These offshore wind projects(...)

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New England’s last coal-fired power plant loses key revenue source

New England’s last coal-fired power plant loses key revenue source

Non-carbon resources account for 25% of 2026-2027 capacity commitments

AN AUCTION for commitments to deliver electricity to the New England power grid three years from now provides two interesting clues about the region’s energy future. First, New England’s last active coal-fired generator, Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire, failed to qualify in the auction, suggesting its days may be numbered. The other big takeaway(...)

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Electricity prices falling, but remain high

Electricity prices falling, but remain high

National Grid says summer rate will be higher than last year

NATIONAL GRID said its price for basic service will plummet starting May 1 but still remain above levels from a year ago. Basic service is electricity National Grid buys on behalf of customers who choose not to select their own supplier. National Grid procures the electricity through a competitive bidding process and collects no markup(...)

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​​SouthCoast Wind keeps hedging on its viability

​​SouthCoast Wind keeps hedging on its viability

Cites financial challenges but insists it can move forward

IS SOUTHCOAST WIND, the proposed wind farm off the Massachusetts coast previously known as MayFlower Wind, fully committed to the power purchase contract it agreed to with the state’s utilities?  A review of SouthCoast’s regulatory history suggests its owners – Shell New Energies and Ocean Winds North America – are worried the project is no(...)

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Offshore wind industry united on pricing adjustments

Offshore wind industry united on pricing adjustments

Companies tell state flexibility needed on next procurement

MASSACHUSETTS POLICYMAKERS  may be split on whether offshore wind developers should be allowed to adjust the pricing in their existing power purchase agreements to cope with changing economic conditions, but there is no disagreement – within the industry at least – that adjustments should be permitted on future contracts. In filings with the Department of(...)

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More renewables, not more gas, is our future

More renewables, not more gas, is our future

Fossil fuels are not essential to power grid reliability

At 4:30 p.m. on a bitter, cold Christmas Eve 2022, New England’s power grid operator ISO-NE declared a capacity deficiency after gas and oil generators used during times of peak demand failed to provide sufficient energy. The failure pushed our regional power grid to the brink and put residents at risk of blackouts. Over two(...)

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Correcting the record on decarbonization

Correcting the record on decarbonization

We must wean ourselves off of fossil fuels

A RECENT COMMENTARY,  “Decarbonization road map has some gaping holes” by Arnold J. Wallenstein, argues that Massachusetts must scale back its efforts to decarbonize its energy system. Unfortunately, the piece relies upon incomplete assumptions while making glaring omissions about the viability of clean energy. It glosses over the health, climate, and economic burdens imposed by(...)

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Prysmian seeks assurances before building Somerset plant

Prysmian seeks assurances before building Somerset plant

Urges state to set local content requirements for future wind farms

THE PRYSMIAN GROUP says it wants to push ahead with plans to open a manufacturing facility at Brayton Point in Somerset to serve the emerging offshore wind industry, but it wants assurances before doing so. “To invest, Prysmian needs certainty that future Massachusetts projects will utilize local assets such as in-state manufacturing,” said Hakan Ozmen,(...)

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The dirty truth of Northfield Mountain's 'clean' energy

The dirty truth of Northfield Mountain’s ‘clean’ energy

Pumped storage facility did not save the region's power grid

CLARIFICATION: Northfield Mountain officials raised several issues with this commentary following its publication that prompted clarification and wording tweaks. The pumped storage facility is not powered by natural gas; it is powered by electricity from the power grid, which typically is produced using natural gas.  The parent company of Northfield is not a venture capital(...)

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