Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Another skirmish in the pipeline wars

Another skirmish in the pipeline wars

Dueling studies assess impact of cold snap in late December, early January

THE LATEST PIPELINE SKIRMISH centers around the two-week cold snap New England endured at the end of December and early January. Massachusetts businesses groups last week released a study that quantified the environmental impact of  the cold snap, which sent demand for natural gas soaring to levels that couldn’t be satisfied with existing pipeline capacity.(...)

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Obama saw a key role for natural gas

Obama saw a key role for natural gas

We should follow his lead in New England

MASSACHUSETTS HAS A LONG HISTORY of leading the nation through innovative programs and establishing tough standards that improve public health and environmental protection. From some of the nation’s earliest innovative hazardous waste cleanup programs to requiring innovative technologies to reduce emissions, protecting our air and natural resources has always been a source of pride in(...)

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Baker goes slow on smart meters

Baker goes slow on smart meters

DPU order authorizes $220m in grid upgrades

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION authorized the state’s utilities to spend $220 million over the next three years upgrading the power grid to accommodate renewables, electricity storage, and more efficient ways of detecting outages. An order issued on Thursday by the Department of Public Utilities put off a decision on the purchase of smart meters, which allow(...)

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Time to hit the off switch on electricity sellers

Time to hit the off switch on electricity sellers

Consumers shouldn’t be harassed, misled, or lied to

IN 1997, MASSACHUSETTS PASSED the Electric Restructuring Act to “promote the prosperity and general welfare of its citizens . . . by restructuring the electricity industry in the Commonwealth to foster competition and promote reduced electricity rates.” But the residential market for competitive electric supply never worked as hoped, and the competitive market has instead increased(...)

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Do Healey, Baker have a truce?

Do Healey, Baker have a truce?

Political rivals play nice on electricity sellers

ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY and the Baker administration engaged in an interesting political dance on Tuesday at a legislative hearing on what to do about companies that sell electricity to residential customers. By her own admission, Healey, the Democrat, has staked out a fairly extreme position. She feels the 50 companies have ripped off consumers(...)

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What’s up with the Globe and natural gas?

What’s up with the Globe and natural gas?

Paper has adopted panic policy of utilities, grid operator

GIVEN THE LONG HISTORY of the Boston Globe’s editorial board advocacy for consumers and the environment, including its current strong criticism of regulation rollbacks by the Trump administration, it is puzzling to see the paper crusading for new natural gas pipelines that rigorous studies say we do not need, are outrageously expensive, and harm the(...)

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Build offshore wind farms, transmission separately

Build offshore wind farms, transmission separately

That’s the way we’ve done it in Europe, and it’s worked well

LARGE QUANTITIES OF OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY are on the horizon in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, as state governments have recognized that offshore wind power is not only clean and renewable but an abundant and increasingly competitive energy source. While the Northeast US looks to generate about 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind power in(...)

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Governor, move more quickly on offshore wind

Governor, move more quickly on offshore wind

Select multiple winners, speed up future procurements

The following is a letter sent to Gov. Charlie Baker by the heads of 12 environmental groups. ON BEHALF OF THE UNDERSIGNED organizations and our hundreds of thousands of members across the Commonwealth, we applaud your work to advance offshore wind power. Such determined leadership made Massachusetts the first in the nation to invite bids(...)

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Fears about blackouts increasing

Fears about blackouts increasing

Region’s fuel insecurity is self-inflicted

THREE MONTHS AGO, the organization that runs our New England power grid sounded a shocking alarm: Our region faces a possibility of forced, rolling wintertime blackouts in coming years, largely because of unrelenting opposition to sensible, long-overdue expansion of our natural gas supply infrastructure. As we said then, forced blackouts are completely unacceptable, something you’d associate(...)

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Globe pushes for new natural gas pipelines

Globe pushes for new natural gas pipelines

Editorial calls Beacon Hill folly costly, damaging to environment

The BOSTON GLOBE editorial page is going all in for new natural gas pipelines. In an editorial entitled “Why you’ll pay for Beacon Hill’s pipeline folly,” the Globe said it was a big mistake when Beacon Hill lawmakers – “egged on by Attorney General Maura Healey” – blocked efforts to have electric ratepayers finance new natural(...)

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