The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced a set of six new programs seeking to increase affordable access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs in the Commonwealth. These new programs build upon the efforts of the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Working Group, which just released its Final Report, and mark the final component of the Administration’s $15 million Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) Initiative. To learn more about these new programs, read on!
With President-Elect Donald Trump and his administration officially moving into the White House this Friday, the landscape of energy policy, investment, and incentives could see major changes in 2017. Given this backdrop, it seems like a good time to review some of the most important trends and policies concerning clean energy that we covered in 2016.
Here are 2016’s top 5 most popular blog posts at Energy Tech Matters:
Earlier this year, Massachusetts passed legislation that will require the state’s distribution utilities to purchase carbon-free electricity from hydropower and on and offshore wind farms under long-term contracts for up to 30% of the state’s electricity supply. Despite opposition from incumbent generators and large consumers over concerns that the bill would interfere with market competition, Democratic legislators found common ground with Republican Governor Charlie Baker to enact historic “clean energy” legislation that will transform the fuels used to generate the state’s power while significantly reducing its carbon-footprint. To learn more, read on!
After ending formal sessions in July, Massachusetts lawmakers will convene in informal sessions for the remainder of the year, and no controversial legislative matters are expected to pass during this time.
Below ML Strategies presents its forecast and analysis of the key developments to expect in Massachusetts on energy-related matters for the remainder of this year and into the 2017-2018 legislative session. The complete forecast, which covers a wider array of topics, can be read here. To learn more about Massachusetts’ energy forecast, read on!
The U.S.’s offshore wind industry is poised for a burst of activity after faltering for several years on the heels of the stalled Cape Wind project in Massachusetts. The country’s first offshore wind farm will open this fall off the coast of Rhode Island. To read more about this project, continue reading!
Last Sunday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill to significantly increase electricity produced by renewable energy sources. The state’s utilities will be required to purchase power from on and offshore wind farms, as well as power from hydroelectric dams located largely in Canada. Governor Baker is expected sign the bill in short order, as he has strongly supported purchasing imports of clean energy. To learn more about this bill, read on!
Last week, Clean Edge published a report titled the “U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index” (“Index”) that ranked Massachusetts as the second state and Boston as the seventh metro area in the U.S. according to its scoring methodology. The Index contains findings from the 2016 editions of Clean Edge’s State and Metro Indices, and serves as a tool for regional comparative research. The Index tracks activity in the U.S. based on a wide range of underlying industry indicators at state and metro levels.
The state index offers scores for all 50 states, derived from more than 70 state-based indicators organized into three areas of technology, policy, and capital. The metro index uses more than 30 metro-based indicators to calculate scores for the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan statistical areas divided into four areas of green buildings, advanced transportation, clean electricity & carbon management, and clean-tech, investment, innovation & workforce. To read more about the Index and analysis, read on!
On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a solar energy bill into law that increases the statewide limits on the amount of solar capacity that will qualify for net metering, but also lowers the value of net metering credits for large-scale projects. The bill, which was recommended last week by a joint legislative committee formed to reconcile differences between the separate House and Senate proposals, is the culmination of five months of negotiations between the chambers. The controversial bill passed the House and Senate last week by large majorities. For more on this legislation and what it means for solar energy development in Massachusetts, read on!
Tom Burton, Chair of Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, has published a weekly installment providing insight into the challenges and possible solutions that, if implemented, promise a bright future as clean energy moves America forward. In this series, Tom included one challenge per week and the potential solution(s). This is the sixth and final installment of the series. Click to read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.
The Problem: Renewables Intermittent Power Generation
Renewable energy sources are intermittent in nature, depending on when the sun shines and the wind blows. Because of this, suppliers face “ramp up” and “ramp down” issues.
- Ramping up: Renewable supply is typically lowest during the evening, while at this time demand spikes as people return home from work. The California Independent System Operator (ISO) developed a “duck curve” to describe how massive amounts of customer-sited PV systems could cause problems to the state’s supply-demand balance on its electricity grid. The ISO worries that the “neck” of the duck curve, situated where consumers come home and turn their electricity on as the sun sets, could overwhelm the state’s available generating capacity.
- Ramping down: Generation is highest in the middle of the day as demand troughs. This creates an overgeneration risk where grid operators often have to ask renewable suppliers to reduce production so as not to overwhelm transmission lines. In Vermont, Green Mountain Power has, on several occasions, had to cut back the power it sends to the grid because the operator told them it was overloading capacity. Compounding the issue is that it is more difficult to synchronize wind’s fluctuating power flow with a system built for the steadier electric stream of fossil fuel plants. This comes with financial consequences – for example, cutbacks cost the Vermont Electric Cooperative $1.5 million in 2013.
A widespread, cost effective method is necessary to smooth out the duck curve and deliver clean power at all hours of the day.
On Wednesday, September 23, the Northeast Electrochemical Energy Storage Cluster and North Shore InnoVentures co-hosted the 2015 Clean Energy Storage Finance Forum at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The event kicked off with storage company pitches moderated by Tom Kinneman, Vice President and COO of North Shore InnoVentures. Afterward, Tibor Toth, MassCEC’s Managing Director of Investments, moderated a panel that featured Judith Judson, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Betty Watson, SolarCity’s Deputy Director of Policy and Electricity markets, and Bill Bullock, Director of Business Development at NRG. The panel was an exclusive opportunity for major energy stakeholders to discuss the future of storage. Read below for some key takeaways!