A Regional Affair: Offshore Wind in Massachusetts Clears Hurdle in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has given its regulatory approval for the first large-scale wind farm to be built in the United States. This approval is a significant step forward for the project. Last year, Massachusetts selected a developer, Vineyard Wind, to build a wind farm for it in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Because Rhode Island fishermen operate in those waters, that state also had the opportunity to decide whether the project fits within its laws and interests. In its testimony on this question before Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), Acadia Center reiterated the importance
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$2B offshore wind farm gets RI approval

Vineyard Wind cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday when Rhode Island coastal regulators determined the $2-billion wind farm proposed in offshore waters to be consistent with state policies. Although the 84-turbine project is planned in Atlantic Ocean waters south of Martha’s Vineyard where the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management holds lead permitting authority, it needs consistency certifications from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council and its counterpart in Massachusetts primarily because it would affect the states’ fishing industries. With the Massachusetts approval still under consideration, the decision from the Rhode Island coastal council represents a step forward for
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CMP sweetens the deal, picks up support from Mills and others for $950M project

Central Maine Power announced this morning it has signed a stipulation asking the Maine Public Utilities Commission to authorize its $950 million transmission project to deliver Canadian hydropower through Maine to Massachusetts. The proposed settlement includes conditions that Acadia Center and Conservation Law Foundation sought directly from CMP under a Jan. 30 memorandum of understanding signed by CMP President and CEO Doug Herling and CMP Vice President, Treasurer and Controller Eric Stinneford. Read the full article from Maine Biz here.

Conditions Reached on Hydropower Line Seek a Shift to Clean Energy in Maine

Acadia Center continues to push for more climate, clean energy and consumer benefits ROCKPORT, ME – Parties in a proceeding reviewing whether the Maine PUC should issue a certificate for Central Maine Power’s proposed hydropower line through Maine have entered into a settlement that requires significant consumer and clean energy commitments. Acadia Center engaged in the settlement negotiations as a means to seek increased cooperation from CMP in transitioning to a clean energy future. The settlement provisions submitted to the Maine PUC today incorporate conditions that Acadia Center and Conservation Law Foundation sought directly from CMP under a Memorandum of
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The Northeast is poised to regain momentum on clean energy

A bloc of states from Maine to New Jersey are stitched together by shared power sources and an interdependent set of economies, highways, and waterways. They moved in unison in the earliest throes of clean energy policy. But in recent years, politics has peeled off some while others have surged ahead. Now some of the smallest and most unlikely players are helping to get everyone moving together again. Read the full article from Yale Climate Connections here.

As states look to cut transportation emissions, RGGI offers a model — and room to improve

As a group of Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states begins to design a system to curb regional transportation emissions, planners are expected to turn to the decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as a model. Experts say the initiative can provide a good starting point, but that important questions must be answered to translate the concept to transportation. “We can’t simply cut and paste [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] and apply it to the transportation sector,” said Jordan Stutt, carbon programs director at environmental nonprofit the Acadia Center. “There are a lot of considerations that need to be made which are specific
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Solar policy fight is picking up where it left off

Anyone who thought legislation passed last year would extinguish controversy over the transition away from that widely used method of compensating solar energy customers for their excess power would have been wrong. […] The direction from the Lamont administration has been clear, said Acadia Center Connecticut Director Amy McLean Salls. “I don’t understand why, in my opinion, we’re regressing back to a place where we are not paying attention to Lamont administration goals,” she said. “We need to be moving forward here and fixing the problem.” Read the full article from the CT Mirror here.

New Massachusetts energy efficiency plan to push storage, heat pumps and ‘demand response’

The 2019-2021 energy efficiency plan, approved by the Department of Public Utilities on Jan. 29, would cut aggregate retail electricity sales by 2.7 percent and cut natural gas sales by 1.25 percent within the three-year period. The plan provides new tools for Mass Save, the energy efficiency program run by the state’s utilities. Homeowners will see incentives to switch from oil and propane furnaces to electric heat pumps. Commercial and industrial energy storage will be encouraged; “strategic electrification” will get a boost; and “demand response” — where customers save money by curtailing or shifting consumption during periods of heavy power
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Sea Change: Maine should act more like the renewable energy dynamo it is

The fastest-growing sources of electricity generation in the coming two years will be solar and wind, a federal report projects, as prices keep dropping and new projects come online. These power sources are gaining ground wherever they’re allowed to take hold. In a vivid example of “what’s possible when you infuse a can-do spirit with policy,” Massachusetts has “blown past” goals once thought unrealistic, says John Rogers, a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization. Massachusetts now has nearly six times more solar power installed per person than Maine, according to the Acadia Center, a nonprofit promoting clean-energy efforts
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