Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Getting to grid modernization

Getting to grid modernization

Delivering electricity in an era of fluctuating power sources

IN MASSACHUSETTS and across much of the country, the push is on for “grid modernization.” The “grid” is at a critical point of transformation, being driven by trends towards de-carbonization, technological innovation, and customers’ increasing expectation for a more reliable, efficient, sustainable, and interactive network. The journey required to get there will be mapped by(...)

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Mass. needs to move much faster on electric buses

Mass. needs to move much faster on electric buses

$75m from VW settlement could accelerate transition

MASSACHUSETTS HAS AN AIR POLLUTION problem, specifically a diesel pollution problem. Our state has the highest health risk from diesel soot in New England. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent rollback of automobile emission and efficiency standards will worsen air quality and significantly impact public health. Diesel exhaust pollution carries a cancer risk three times higher(...)

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Go bigger with offshore wind procurement

Go bigger with offshore wind procurement

It would make sense to pick more than one supplier

IN RECENT MONTHS, the Baker administration has taken several important steps toward a clean energy future for the Commonwealth, including bold initiatives to accelerate large-scale clean energy as enabled by the 2016 Energy Diversity Act. Beyond the state’s recent clean energy procurement, which considered hydro imports, onshore wind projects, and transmission siting, there is a(...)

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Tweak needed for clean peak standard

Tweak needed for clean peak standard

Rebates could be used to prime the market

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER recently submitted a significant bond bill to the Legislature calling for a $1.4 billion authorization for climate adaptation, mitigation, and infrastructure investment. While the dollar amounts grab the headlines, there is also an important and innovative piece of policy buried within the bill, establishing a clean peak energy standard (CPS).  A clean(...)

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Grid operator raises alarm at Mystic shutdown

Grid operator raises alarm at Mystic shutdown

Says power plant retirements pose unacceptable fuel security risk

This story was updated at 7:25 p.m. to include clarifying material. THE OPERATOR OF THE REGIONAL POWER GRID said on Tuesday that it plans to take immediate steps to prevent two of Exelon’s power plants in Everett from retiring while it develops financial incentives to convince the company to keep the plants open in the(...)

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Delays likely in offshore wind procurement

Delays likely in offshore wind procurement

Evaluators tied up on clean energy procurement

THE STATE’S TOP ENERGY OFFICIAL said on Tuesday that the selection of a winner or winners of the offshore wind procurement will probably be delayed beyond April 23 because the evaluation team is still tied up negotiating a contract with the winner of a separate clean energy procurement. “There’s only so much capacity,” said Matthew(...)

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Baker treads softly on Healey proposal

Baker treads softly on Healey proposal

Won’t say whether he favors reform or removal of electricity sellers

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER adopted a cautious approach to Attorney General Maura Healey’s call for the elimination of a 50-company business sector that sells electricity to homeowners in Massachusetts. Healey last Thursday condemned the sales tactics of the electricity sellers, and said the best approach to dealing with them would be to do away with the(...)

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Baker proposes home energy efficiency score

Baker proposes home energy efficiency score

Would be required as part of real estate transactions in 2021

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Tuesday proposed the creation of an easy-to-understand home energy efficiency score that could provide guidance for owners seeking to improve the energy efficiency of their residences and insight for buyers as they decide whether to make a purchase. At a press conference at the State House, Baker said the legislation would(...)

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Exelon plays power politics

Exelon plays power politics

Threatens to shutter Mystic station unless payments increased

EXELON GENERATION is threatening to shut down its Mystic Generation Station in mid-2022 unless the operator of the regional power grid offers more money to units that generate electricity reliably and provide regional fuel security. The Everett-based Mystic station is one of the two largest electricity-generating facilities in New England. It is capable of generating(...)

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My recipe for embracing renewables

My recipe for embracing renewables

Keep the offshore grid independent of generators

WE’VE COME TO EXPECT the miracle of Moore’s Law from our computer technology – exponential progress in speed, power and efficiency, all while prices drop. Until recently, the world of electric power has been a laggard, but that’s quickly changing: At last, the relentless forces of innovation are now bearing down on electric power, with(...)

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