Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Natural gas bottleneck hurting New England

Natural gas bottleneck hurting New England

Demand is high but limited pipeline capacity keeps supply low

FOR ALMOST THREE decades, natural gas use has continued to grow in New England, while the number of pipelines feeding the region has remained stagnant. Demand has increased while supply has not. Unfortunately, policies in the region and in neighboring states (namely New York) have restricted the development of needed infrastructure to deliver energy to(...)

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Electricity costs skyrocket along with oil usage

Electricity costs skyrocket along with oil usage

In January, oil was used to generate 12% of New England’s power

THE NEW ENGLAND power grid kept the lights on across the region in January, but at a very high cost financially and in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The cost of the electricity on the regional wholesale market was $1.4 billion, double what it was in December ($721 million) and almost triple what it was(...)

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Close calls as region’s power grid walks a tightrope

Close calls as region’s power grid walks a tightrope

‘These are not hypotheticals,’ says van Welie

This story has been updated. THE OVERSEER of the New England power grid warned on Monday that the region is walking a tightrope this winter, flirting with emergency situations that could result in rolling blackouts. Gordon van Welie, the president and chief executive officer of ISO-New England, said the power grid’s resource mix and fuel(...)

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Lawsuit challenges Vineyard Wind approval

Lawsuit challenges Vineyard Wind approval

Accuses feds of not protecting right whales, negotiating bad deal

A LAWSUIT CHALLENGING the federal approval of the nation’s first industrial-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts raises questions about the haste with which the project was approved and the fallout it will have on endangered right whales and the fishing industry. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in federal court in Washington, DC,(...)

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Oil powering a big chunk of power grid

Oil powering a big chunk of power grid

High price of natural gas leaves opening for dirtier fossil fuel

NEW ENGLAND POWER plants are burning a lot more oil to generate electricity, apparently because the cost of natural gas is so high. In January last year, oil accounted for just 0.2 percent of the fuel mix used to generate power across the region. This month, starting around January 7, oil began accounting for 20(...)

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Markey says FERC rethinking Weymouth Compressor

Markey says FERC rethinking Weymouth Compressor

Senator offers no additional details; agency's plan unclear

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE FEDERAL ENERGY regulators will reconsider their approval for the controversial natural gas compressor station in Weymouth less than a year and a half after they gave it the OK to go into service, US Sen. Ed Markey said Friday. Other than saying that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “announced it will(...)

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Sweeping offshore wind bill headed toward House

Sweeping offshore wind bill headed toward House

Measure would hike utility bills to pay for incentives

THE LEGISLATURE’S energy committee approved a bill Wednesday evening that would give the state’s Clean Energy Center a major role in the development of the offshore wind industry and tap consumer electricity and natural gas bills to pay for tax credits, grants, and investments to make it happen. Rep. Jeffrey Roy of Franklin, the House(...)

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Offshore wind policy fight takes center stage

Offshore wind policy fight takes center stage

Rep backs, senator balks at eliminating price cap

A LONG-BREWING fight over state energy policy moved into the spotlight on Tuesday as key players laid out their positions in what promises to be an interesting debate over the best way to propel the state’s offshore wind industry into the future. The starting point is a bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker that would(...)

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Power grid copes with cold by burning oil, coal

Power grid copes with cold by burning oil, coal

Plants brought online to deal with unexpected outages

THE NEW ENGLAND power grid on Tuesday coped with unusually cold temperatures and outages at several power plants and transmission lines by bringing additional power plants online and relying on oil and coal to generate roughly a fifth of the region’s electricity. ISO-New England, the operator of the region’s power grid, said it issued an(...)

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Baker approves solar, truck emission initiatives

Baker approves solar, truck emission initiatives

Moves follow setbacks on transportation, hydroelectricity

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE With two of its key climate change policies dead or near-dead, the Baker administration approved two initiatives last week to incentivize the development of solar power and expand the use of zero emission vehicles. The Department of Public Utilities finalized on Thursday a long-delayed regulatory process for a solar incentive program(...)

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