Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

Electricity aggregation success extends beyond Newton

Electricity aggregation success extends beyond Newton

Programs in many cities show the approach works

THE METROPOLITAN AREA PLANNING COUNCIL applauds Newton for taking the next great leap in green aggregation (“Municipal electricity aggregation really works”), and we feel it is important to highlight the pioneering work of other municipalities in this space in recent years. The Clean Energy Department at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council has been helping cities(...)

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Municipal electricity aggregation really works

Municipal electricity aggregation really works

Newton’s approach changes the game on renewables

ONE DOWN, 350 to go. That’s how many cities and towns in Massachusetts do not yet have so-called “municipal aggregation” electricity programs with an ambitious amount of renewable power from sources such as solar and wind.  At a time when Washington is back-sliding and worse on climate change, communities in Massachusetts have an easy way(...)

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Has the Mass. solar gamble paid off?

Has the Mass. solar gamble paid off?

Like other energy bets, costs high, hidden

HOW MUCH SHOULD we pay to promote solar energy in Massachusetts? Recent state government programs have resulted in the commitment of at least $10 billion of consumer funds—well over $1,500 for every man, woman, and child in the state. Is there a need for more government-directed subsidization, or have we reached a point of diminishing(...)

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Wind firms pay $135m each for offshore tracts

Wind firms pay $135m each for offshore tracts

Interior Department called the auction a 'bidding bonanza'

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THREE LEASE WINNERS have each agreed to pay $135 million to gain access to ocean tracts off the coast of Massachusetts where they may someday build commercial-scale wind energy installations. The results of Thursday’s federal government auction of 390,000 acres were announced Friday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The(...)

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Why are electricity prices spiking this winter?

Why are electricity prices spiking this winter?

Baker administration report blames last winter

RETAIL ELECTRICITY PRICES are going up this winter in eastern Massachusetts because of the price spike that occurred during an extreme cold spell last winter. The explanation for the rising price of electricity – it will be at its highest level since 2015 – was contained in an energy plan released on Wednesday by the(...)

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Price of electricity going up in E. Mass.

Price of electricity going up in E. Mass.

Cost this winter will be highest since 2015

THE PRICE OF ELECTRICITY in eastern Massachusetts is going up this winter to its highest level since 2015. Eversource Energy said its price for so-called basic service will be nearly 13.6 cents a kilowatt hour this winter in the eastern part of the state, up 0.7 cents from last winter and its highest level since(...)

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Region’s electricity market in trouble

Region’s electricity market in trouble

Pipeline constraints, need for more renewables disrupting competitive wholesale market

GORDON VAN WELIE is sitting in a conference room in Holyoke. Behind him is a bank of windows that look down on a control room with a massive screen showing the second-by-second status of New England’s power grid. On this day in November, everything is running smoothly, with the supply of electricity easily keeping pace(...)

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climate change

Boston, too, needs to do more on climate change

Build offshore wind, electrify transportation sector

CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL and it is here. In Boston, the impacts of climate change are already tangible. In January of this year a massive nor’easter brought a devastating storm surge with ice chunks floating down Atlantic Avenue. The image of a rogue dumpster riding the surf down the streets in the Seaport and tides(...)

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We need a Green New Deal in Massachusetts

We need a Green New Deal in Massachusetts

Deteriorating climate requires more aggressive action

THE LATEST CLIMATE SCIENCE has come in, and it’s time to update our state’s climate laws. As a graduate student working on climate change in 2008, I was proud to help lead hundreds of students from across Massachusetts to campaign effusively for the passage of our state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. It was, and(...)

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Let’s encourage offshore wind competition

Let’s encourage offshore wind competition

One way to do that is to separate transmission from generation

THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR’S Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced last month that it will auction three new wind energy lease areas off the Massachusetts coast, instead of the two that were initially forecast. The move provides a fresh gust of good news for the emerging wind industry in the United States. By mapping out(...)

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