Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Canadians call for new era of power grid diplomacy

Canadians call for new era of power grid diplomacy

Say Maine vote highlights need for greater regional cooperation

FORMER QUEBEC premier Robert Bourassa passed away 25 years ago last month. In his 1985 book, Power from the North, he presented a passionate, articulate, and convincing argument to pursue the development of northern Québec’s hydropower resources. He saw US and Canadian northeastern markets as lucrative in the long-term and feared the dangers of the(...)

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Unitil settlement proves Healey wrong

Unitil settlement proves Healey wrong

Rate shock solution penalizes electric choice customers

AFTER NEARLY THREE YEARS of asserting that utility basic service is always a better deal for residential consumers than retail choice, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey just proved herself spectacularly wrong. Here’s what happened. On October 22, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved a settlement agreement between electric utility company Unitil and the(...)

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What’s next after stunning Maine rebuke

What’s next after stunning Maine rebuke

Hard energy, siting siting choices lie ahead

LAST TUESDAY’S stunning rebuke by Maine voters of a utility transmission project has dramatic implications for Massachusetts’ clean energy and climate strategy. The so-called New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line would have delivered low carbon electricity from Canadian hydroelectric plants, and has been a key pillar of the Baker administration’s plan for meeting the(...)

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Mass. climate agenda takes Election Day hits

Mass. climate agenda takes Election Day hits

Votes in Maine, Virginia disrupt Bay State energy policy

ONE OF THE MOST consequential results for Massachusetts from last Tuesday’s election actually occurred in Maine. By a margin of approximately 59-41 percent, Maine residents voted to prohibit Central Maine Power’s attempt to construct new, high impact electric transmission lines through the Upper Kennebec region of the state. The transmission lines would carry hydro-electricity produced in(...)

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Utilities defend energy efficiency plan

Utilities defend energy efficiency plan

Face criticism for subsidizing natural gas heating systems

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE GETTING MORE people to adopt electric heat sources in place of fossil fuel-powered sources is a crucial part of the effort to meet the state’s new climate targets, but senators said Monday that the latest three-year plan for the Mass Save program isn’t ambitious enough to truly drive that change. Utility(...)

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Getting to yes on electricity transmission infrastructure

Getting to yes on electricity transmission infrastructure

We need consensus on selecting, paying for projects

Second in a series ANY VISION of the future decarbonized power system is sure to include hundreds of wind turbines dotting the Atlantic Ocean to power homes and businesses across New England. While the eye is drawn to the blades spinning above the water, equally important to this vision is what’s going on under the(...)

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Why Maine voters did Mass. a favor

Why Maine voters did Mass. a favor

The hydro-electric transmission line to Quebec is a bad deal

THE GOOD PEOPLE of Maine have done Massachusetts’ electric ratepayers a solid, as the expression goes. On Tuesday, Maine voters approved Question 1 on their ballot by a nearly 60-40 percent margin. Question 1 will deep-six the electric transmission line intended to push expensive Quebec hydropower into Massachusetts, where ratepayers of the state-regulated electric utilities(...)

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Stalled Maine hydro power line raises concerns

Stalled Maine hydro power line raises concerns

Can region build infrastructure needed to address climate change?

WITH A PROPOSED Maine transmission line financed by Massachusetts electricity ratepayers heading to court, officials gathering at a conference in Boston on Thursday raised concerns about the region’s ability to build the energy infrastructure necessary to address climate change. At a meeting of the New England-Canada Business Council, little was said about the stalled transmission(...)

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Maine voters tell Mass. to stick its transmission line

Maine voters tell Mass. to stick its transmission line

Backers of project say referendum was unconstitutional

MAINE VOTERS delivered a shock to Massachusetts on Tuesday, overwhelmingly approving a ballot question that would block the Bay State’s bid to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by building a 145-mile transmission line delivering hydro-electricity from Quebec. The ballot fight was the most expensive in Maine history. Opponents of the ballot question heavily outspent(...)

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Baker calls Maine ballot fight ‘a big deal’

Baker calls Maine ballot fight ‘a big deal’

Question could derail hydro-electricity transmission line

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER indicated he will be closely watching what happens in Maine on Tuesday, where voters will decide the fate of a ballot question that could block construction of a transmission line being built with money from Massachusetts electricity ratepayers to bring carbon-free hydro-electricity into New England. “This is a big deal,” Baker said(...)

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