Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

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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Hydro power is good, but safeguards needed

Hydro power is good, but safeguards needed

We need to verify that imports actually reduce emissions

MASSACHUSETTS IS ON THE FRONT LINES of the climate crisis. Residents are already grappling with the effects of a changing climate on the coasts and in our communities. In response to this growing threat, Massachusetts law requires that the state reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050, and Massachusetts has taken action to reduce climate pollution(...)

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State: New toxins data don't change stance on Weymouth gas facility

State: New toxins data don’t change stance on Weymouth gas facility

Hearing on compressor station scheduled to resume next week

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE DESPITE CONCEDING that a handful of samples showed concentrations of toxins above standard limits, state regulators believe a new batch of air-quality data does not change the conclusions that greenlit a controversial proposed natural gas compressor station. Both the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Health reviewed the new(...)

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Crowd-sourcing energy efficiency

Crowd-sourcing energy efficiency

Eversource offers customers incentive payments to tap into home, business devices

EVERSOURCE ENERGY on Wednesday began offering businesses and homeowners incentive payments ranging from $20 to $1,000 a year if they allow the company to tap into devices that would allow the utility to remotely retrieve electricity stored by customers or lower their energy usage at peak demand periods. Developed as part of the state’s $2.8(...)

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Debunking the fracked gas fairy tale

Debunking the fracked gas fairy tale

Fuel is as dirty as coal and extremely dangerous

IN APRIL, Tom Andrews wrote an opinion piece that appeared in CommonWealth calling for more fracked gas energy, claiming it “plays a critical role when it comes to cost and emissions reductions” and that energy demand is “skyrocketing.” He is wrong on all counts. We’ll start with energy demand. ISO – New England, the organization(...)

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Mass. to double offshore wind procurements

Mass. to double offshore wind procurements

State bullish on wind, but long-term contracts raise risks

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION is pushing ahead with plans to double the procurement of offshore wind power over the next several years, a move that will increase wind’s share of the state’s energy portfolio to 30 percent while locking Massachusetts into long-term contracts for nearly two thirds of its electricity. The announcement was another sign of(...)

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Get ready for another biomass battle

Get ready for another biomass battle

Baker administration rules betray forests, climate, science

REMEMBER THE BIG FIGHT about biomass as renewable energy in Massachusetts in the mid-2000s? We’re in the middle of another one. About 10 years ago, the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) still classified what were essentially tree-burning power plants as renewable, making them eligible for lucrative renewable energy subsidies. At that time, three large biomass(...)

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DPU failing to protect Mass. consumers

DPU failing to protect Mass. consumers

Competitive electricity suppliers getting a free pass

MASSACHUSETTS UTILITY CUSTOMERS who switched to competitive electricity suppliers paid $177 million more over a two-year period than if they had stayed with the local utility company (National Grid, Eversource, or Unitil) as detailed in a thoroughly documented March 2018 report by Attorney General (AG) Maura Healey. An April 2018 report from the National Consumer(...)

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Don’t repeal the offshore wind price cap

Don’t repeal the offshore wind price cap

Bypassing Beacon Hill hearing process wrong way to go

MASSACHUSETTS LAWMAKERS showed some healthy skepticism about the workings of corporate America back in 2016 when they mandated that giant offshore wind farms would be part of the Commonwealth’s energy mix. Motivated by concern about climate change and the dangers of fossil fuels, the omnibus energy bill to spur offshore wind development was an intervention(...)

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