Posted on November 30th, 2016 by

  • Coal is expected to make a comeback across the country this winter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In New England, projected natural gas price increases and pipeline constraints could cause the region’s Independent System Operator to rely more heavily on coal-powered generation.
  • Will the use of more coal in 2016-2017 have an impact on climate goals? New England carbon emissions increased 7 percent in 2015 (see graphic below), largely due to an increase in fossil fuel use after the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station retired.
  • How bad is the natural gas supply crunch during New England’s winters? At a recent energy forum, it was noted that the Northeast saw natural gas shortages 90 times last year, leaving the region’s markets on some winter days with the most costly natural gas in the country.
  • Our energy system depends on both reliable infrastructure and having reliable sources of energy. Here in New Hampshire, investments are being made to infrastructure, but this editorial says we still need more reliable power sources.

co2emissions-increase-chart

 

Quick Links:

Coal-fired generation projected to surpass natural gas this winter

Power Magazine, 22 November 2016

Coal may surpass natural gas as most common electricity generation fuel this winter

U.S. Energy Information Administration, 18 November 2016

Region told pipeline squeeze may push up power prices

Vermont Digger, 20 November 2016

New England faces an energy crunch

Providence Journal, 24 November 2016

Blackout Friday: Make NH power grid more reliable

Union Leader, 24 November 2016

 


Posted on November 30th, 2016 by

Posted In: Energy Brief


Posted on November 23rd, 2016 by

  • Energy Leaders from Canada and New England called for a balanced approach to managing the regional demand for energy at a meeting hosted by the New England Canada Business Council. Leaders also addressed the retirement of some of the region’s major power plants, natural gas constraints and the intermittent nature of renewables.
  • ISO-NE sounded alarm bells last week about the impact that constraints on the region’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure may have on the delivery of clean, reliable power.
  • Eversource’s CEO is talking about plans to pursue aggressively a number of initiatives, including a stepped-up commitment to energy-efficiency programs, an expansion of its solar-power capabilities, and increased use of hydropower to help meet the challenges of climate change.
  • Maine’s energy director, one of the most respected voices in the industry, announced he is stepping down. He cited challenges to regional efforts to expand natural gas pipelines as a factor in his departure.
  • Eversource is in the process of selling its remaining power plants in New Hampshire. The forthcoming auction will complete the state’s electric utility restructuring, as approved by the Legislature in the 1990s, which aims to reduce costs by having the free market, not regulated utilities, responsible for energy production.

Quick Links:

Canada’s take on Northern Pass

NH Business Review, 10 November 2016

Examining the future of New England’s energy

NECN, 18 November 2016

Jim Judge’s goal is to make Eversource ‘a catalyst for clean energy’

Upstart Business Journal, 15 November 2016

Power grid operator sounds alarm bells

Commonwealth Magazine, 17 November 2016

Governor’s respected energy chief to step down, partly because of lobbyist influence

Portland Press Herald, 16 November 2016

Deadlines set for Eversource to sell all of its power plants

Union Leader, 15 November 2016

 


Posted on November 23rd, 2016 by

Posted In: Energy Brief


Posted on November 17th, 2016 by

  • Top ranking officials from the regions independent system operator have expressed concern for New England’s overreliance on natural gas and future retirements of non-gas resources, with Vice President Peter Brandien calling this coming winter his “last best year.”
  • ISO-NE President and CEO Gordan van Welie made headlines when he called New England’s energy situation “precarious” at a discussion of New England’s power markets and infrastructure, arguing energy leaders’ top priority should be ensuring adequate supply.
  • Given New England states share a single power grid, The New England Council encourages the region’s leaders and energy stakeholders to take a more comprehensive, holistic approach to tackling our energy challenges.
  • Wind projects in Vermont that would bring much-needed renewable energy to the region are withering under stiff opposition.
  • Northern Pass has announced the Project is focusing efforts on a Massachusetts RFP in the spring soliciting clean, large-scale hydropower to satisfy the regions’ growing demand with a clean, renewable source of energy.
  • A new assessment of the Eastern U.S. grid shows it will be able to handle 30 percent renewables within 10 years, but only with substantial upgrades to the transmission system.

The highlights:

Forecast calls for cold winter with volatile temperatures

SNL, 11 October 2016

Three New England states move on 460 MW of renewables

Platts, 26 October 2016

NH firms taking part in $129m transmission line construction

NHBR, 26 October 2016

N.H. regulators authorize Northern Pass Transmission to begin operations as public utility

Electric Light&Power, 19 October 2016

Canadian Hydro: A Lifeline for Northeastern Clean Energy Goals?

Greentechmedia, 13 October 2016

Regulators reject Eversource’s funding proposal for natural gas

Concord Monitor, 8 October 2016


Posted on November 17th, 2016 by

Posted In: Energy Brief


Posted on April 1st, 2016 by

In the past decade, there has been a gradual national shift away from coal and oil as sources of electricity and toward natural gas and renewable sources. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the shift is happening faster than we thought and natural gas is now the top source of electricity nation-wide. Here in New England, we rely heavily on natural gas for electricity, which is driving up winter energy costs and creating a challenging climate for business.

In Massachusetts, officials are working hard to address our regional energy challenges and shift toward more clean energy sources. A bi-partisan consensus has emerged that achieving the state’s clean energy goals cannot be done with just wind, solar and energy efficiency alone – hydropower must be added, too.

Although our use of renewable energy is growing, some projects are facing hard times, and one company is choosing to divest itself of hydro and wind projects here in New England.

 

Natural Gas Weekly Update

U.S. Energy Information Administration

 

This huge change in how we get energy is coming much faster than expected

Washington Post

 

ISO New England annual report: Challenges of retiring power plants, renewables, natural gas pipelines

Vermont Biz

 

Lindlof: Maine solutions lie in low-cost energy

Kennebec Journal

 

A roadmap for the omnibus energy bill

Commonwealth Magazine

 

Former officials have Baker’s back on hydro power

Worcester Business Journal

 

Large hydro joins the renewable energy club

RTO Insider

 

Affordable, reliable and clean electricity is good for Massachusetts

Wicked Local

 

Biomass industry’s plea to Maine lawmakers: Save our jobs

Portland Press Herald

 

TransCanada to sell hydro dams in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont

Mass Live

 

TransCanada looks to sell Maine wind farm

Portland Press Herald

 

 

 

 


Posted on April 1st, 2016 by

Posted In: Energy Brief

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Posted on January 13th, 2016 by

It costs significantly less to fill up your gas tank than it did a year ago and most Americans are looking forward to lower overall energy prices in 2016. Yet in New Hampshire, where energy prices remain among the highest in the nation, the call still resounds for lower energy costs.

Contentious debates may surround many of the region’s proposals to increase natural gas capacity and build new, clean energy projects. There are signs of progress, however, as the state and New England seek to tackle its energy challenges and renewable sources are at the center of many of those discussions.

Americans can look to another year of low energy costs
CBS Market Watch, 4 January 2016

Scott Filion: Lower energy costs essential to staying competitive
New Hampshire Union Leader, 10 January 2016

We need lower electric rates
New Hampshire Union Leader, 8 January 2016

Towns, residents seek to be part of pipeline approval process
Keene Sentinel, 7 January 2016

Opponents of Maine wind farms seek to opt out of speedy reviews
Portland Press Herald, 4 January 2016

Winds of Change Off the New England Coast
Huffington Post, 6 January 2015

New Round Of Northern Pass Public Information Meetings To Start In Franklin
NHPR, 4 January 2016

Renewables include hydro, tidal, geothermal power
Cape Cod Times, 3 January 2016

 


Posted on January 13th, 2016 by

Posted In: Energy Brief, Uncategorized


Posted on January 6th, 2016 by

The sun has set on 2015, a year that was brimming with energy stories. So, what’s in store for 2016? Locally, nationally, and even globally, the move to cleaner energy and the dramatic changes in the oil and natural gas industries will continue to seize headlines.

2015 Electricity generation, per thousand megawatt hours, broken down by fuel source. Figures through October.  Source: www.eia.gov

2015 Electricity generation, per thousand megawatt hours, broken down by fuel source. Figures through October. Source: www.eia.gov

The vivid debate about the future of energy will be sure to continue in the New Year. But 2016 is also poised for progress in many places – including New Hampshire – where major infrastructure projects are now in the siting process.

 
Cheap gas, oil craters: 2015 rocked energy sector
USA Today, 3 January 2016

5 Energy Trends to Watch in 2016
Fortune, 30 December 2015

What NH’s economy, education & government may look like in 2016 (Part 2)
WMUR, 3 January 2016

Global renewable energy to boom over next decade
PennEnergy, 29 December 2016

Tax Breaks, Falling Costs Are Boosting Wind And Solar
NPR, 29 December 2015

Renewables include hydro, tidal, geothermal power
Cape Cod Times, 3 January 2016

Americans can look to another year of low energy costs
CBS News, 4 January 2016

Elected officials seeking to slow pipeline proposal with state legislation
Keene Sentinel, 3 January 2016

Renewable energy efforts stymied by transmission roadblocks
AP via Foster’s Daily Democrat, 22 December 2015

New Round Of Northern Pass Public Information Meetings To Start In Franklin
NHPR, 4 January 201


Posted on January 6th, 2016 by

Posted In: Energy Brief, Uncategorized


Posted on December 16th, 2015 by

The past year’s energy stories could be summed up as a debate over our future energy sources and the infrastructure needed to deliver power to consumers. Policy and projects grabbed headlines at the local, state and national levels, teeing up what is sure to be another year of active engagement.

The energy blog Advanced Energy Economy offers an overview of the topics that splashed big on the national scene, like offshore wind, battery storage, and parity for renewables. Broad issues like climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline, and record-low natural gas prices dominated the national debate, while closer to home, energy discussions focused more on lowering costs and building energy projects.

The year was also marked with milestones as major infrastructure projects advanced and public policy initiatives signaled a strong preference for renewable energy. But along the way there continued to be challenges that underscore the need to find consensus around solutions.

The new year is poised to begin with a sense of urgency on energy matters. Perhaps next year will end with headlines about solutions.

 

YEAR IN REVIEW: Top 10 Advanced Energy News Stories of 2015, Part 1
Advanced Energy Economy, 11 December 2015

What effect will sweeping global agreement on climate change have in New Hampshire?
Concord Monitor, 14 December 2015

Northern Pass Announces its Forward NH Plan
Northern Pass Project Journal, 18 August 2015

Hydropower firms, power-line developers push energy bill
Boston Globe, 3 December 2015

Large energy projects in NH move forward
New Hampshire Union Leader, 8 December 2015

Another View — Brian Chirichiello: Anti-pipeline rhetoric not helping New Hampshire
New Hampshire Union Leader, 9 December 2015

Letter: Energy urgency
Concord Monitor, 6 December 2015

Need open minds on energy
Nashua Telegraph, 9 December 2015


Posted on December 16th, 2015 by

Posted In: Energy Brief, Uncategorized


Posted on December 1st, 2015 by

Momentum is building behind various efforts to increase New England’s supply of renewable power. Whether it’s solar, wind, or hydropower, public officials and private developers are working to address key questions about proposed energy projects, including which and what kind of projects to build, where to build them, and how to pay for them.

Setting ambitious renewable energy goals can prove tricky, as Germany is discovering with its Energiewende initiative. Despite the challenges, however, low- and no-carbon sources of power are emerging as the preferred path to the region’s energy future, for both environmental and cost reasons.

 

Council Votes to Support Northern Pass
Berlin Daily Sun, 24 November 2015

Grant links solar power with horse power
Foster’s Daily Democrat, 24 November 2015

In Windham, state will look beyond local wind ban
VT Digger, 25 November 2015

Quebec premier pushes for long-term hydroelectric power contracts with Massachusetts
Springfield Republican, 13 November 2015

Kuster, Others Call for Review of Energy Projects
Windham Patch, 24 November 2015

Customers emerge for power lines
AP via Rutland Herald, 26 November 2015

Gov. Cuomo to Order Large Increase in Renewable Energy in New York by 2030
New York Times, 22 November 2015

Germany’s green sticker shock
Politico, 29 November 2015

LePage: New England energy costs crippling region
Portland Press Herald, 13 November 2015


Posted on December 1st, 2015 by

Posted In: Energy Brief, Uncategorized


Posted on November 18th, 2015 by

Today, Northern Pass filed a response with the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) strongly objecting to attempts by the New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) to use misinformation and unfounded assertions in order to stall the SEC’s evaluation process.  Our response makes it clear that our SEC application meets the standards outlined in NH statutes and SEC rules, and that NEPGA’s claims to the contrary have no basis in fact or law.

At a time when New England’s energy rates are among the highest in the country and regional policy leaders work intently to encourage the development of new power supplies through clean energy projects in the region, it is unfortunate that NEPGA is choosing to protect profits and ignore the challenges faced by businesses and homeowners in the region.  The fact is, NEPGA is threatened because Northern Pass will make possible the delivery of much-needed rate relief and energy supply stability, which will hinder NEPGA’s ability to continue to profit from the region’s energy crisis and its effect on consumers.

NEPGA, a trade association composed of some of the largest power generators in the country that operate highly profitable nuclear, coal, oil and gas facilities in New England, has long challenged Northern Pass.  To understand why NEPGA would continue to fight a clean energy initiative that will deliver up to 1,090 MW of renewable, competitively priced power to the region, we need to understand their motivation.  Consider this excerpt from our Journal from March of this year:

Big Dollars at Stake

NEPGA’s members control more than 80 percent of all the existing power generation in New England.  Every year generators pledge to produce power several years down the road in a process called the Forward Capacity Auction.  The FCA guarantees payments to generators for this pledge, essentially a type of “incentive payment.”  Electric utility customers in New England currently pay a total of $1 billion in annual capacity payments.  The most recent auction results indicate that price tag will increase to $4 billion in three years.

Here in New Hampshire for instance, the owners of Seabrook Station will receive $45 million in capacity payments this year.  The most recent auction results indicate that figure will increase to $127 million in 2018, and even more the following year.  These increased capacity payments are the result of limited supply and looming power plant retirements that are shrinking our capacity supply.  Generators receive bigger payments because when supply goes down prices go up.

Interestingly, these capacity payments are in addition to the money power generators will make on the electricity they produce.  Without major solutions to address supply constraints, these capacity prices will stay high, and New England’s electric utility customers will continue to pay extra money to generators just to stay open.

When considering what’s at stake for its members, it’s no wonder NEPGA is resorting to baseless claims to try to derail the thorough and rigorous State approval process for Northern Pass.


Posted on November 18th, 2015 by

Posted In: Energy Brief, Uncategorized


Posted on November 16th, 2015 by

Imagine living somewhere power is so plentiful, it’s free.  Whether it’s surplus wind power in Texas, vast solar arrays, or low-cost natural gas from the west, the notion of abundant and cheap power is both attractive and controversial.

Although New England’s wholesale power prices hit an all-time low over the summer, constraints in the natural gas pipeline

Winter wholesale power prices have increased significantly in recent years, showing significant seasonal volatility. Source: ISO-NE

Winter wholesale power prices have increased significantly in recent years, showing significant seasonal volatility. Source: ISO-NE

system that feeds the region’s power plants continue to keep prices volatile in colder months.  Wind and solar power, meanwhile, are intermittent sources and not yet suitable replacements for retiring base-load power plants.

As a recent report noted, New England’s demand for power has leveled off, but the region still needs to strive for balance to ensure a future of affordable, ample power.

A Texas Utility Offers a Nighttime Special: Free Electricity
New York Times, 8 November 2015

Opening of state’s largest solar array celebrated
New Hampshire Union Leader, 9 November 2015

With a Chill in the Air, Thoughts in New England Turn to Heating Bills
Pipeline and Gas Journal, November 2015

Record low prices in summer 2015 New England wholesale electricity market
JD Supra, 3 November 2015

Summer 2015: The lowest natural gas and power prices since 2003
ISO Newswire, 30 October 2015

Defection Would Be a Bad Idea for the Average American
Greentech Media, 3 November 2015

Brown: Closing Pilgrim will zap environment, energy grid
Boston Herald, 4 November 2015

Forecast: Electricity demand flat next 10 years
CommonWealth Magazine, 5 November 2015

Eversource angling for state clean energy deal
Boston Globe, 5 November 2015


Posted on November 16th, 2015 by

Posted In: Energy Brief, Uncategorized


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