Plugging In

Plugging In

Energy and the Environment

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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DPU gives $168m offshore wind bonus to utilities

DPU gives $168m offshore wind bonus to utilities

Healey spokeswoman says decision ‘sets a dangerous precedent’

THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES approved multibillion dollar offshore wind contracts with Vineyard Wind on Friday and, over the objections of Attorney General Maura Healey, authorized the state’s three utilities to collect an additional $168 million from ratepayers just for carrying the contracts on their books. The contract approvals had been expected, both for(...)

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We need both renewables and natural gas

We need both renewables and natural gas

It’s not an either/or proposition with the two types of energy

RENEWABLE ENERGY and natural gas aren’t an “either/or” choice for New England: Now and for years to come, they’re a “both/and” necessity to ensure we have a reliable, affordable energy system our six states can count on. That’s one of the critical takeaways from the newest edition of the most authoritative biennial assessment of New(...)

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Baker makes few changes in offshore wind RFP

Baker makes few changes in offshore wind RFP

Rejects proposals from SE Mass. to boost onshore investment

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION on  Thursday unveiled the request for proposals it wants to use on its next offshore wind solicitation, which hews pretty closely to the terms of the previous one to avoid regulatory delays that could prevent the winning developer from taking advantage of a federal tax credit that expires at the end of(...)

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SE Mass. officials seek “tweak’ in wind policy

SE Mass. officials seek “tweak’ in wind policy

Say emphasis on price is hurting onshore industry-building

NEARLY 50 ELECTED AND BUSINESS officials from southeastern Massachusetts are urging the Baker administration to tweak the contracting process for the next offshore wind procurement to give a greater emphasis to onshore development investments. Gov. Charlie Baker has repeatedly marveled at the low bid Vineyard Wind made to secure the first wind farm contract in(...)

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DeLeo proposes $1b in municipal climate investments

DeLeo proposes $1b in municipal climate investments

Promises money for every city and town using bond funds

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE HOUSE SPEAKER ROBERT DELEO proposed a sweeping $1 billion environmental grant program Friday that, over the next decade, would fund municipal efforts to build renewable-energy infrastructure and invest in climate resiliency programs. DeLeo, speaking alongside members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy after a tour of Somerville’s GreenTown(...)

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