Mold, asbestos may put Connecticut weatherization goal out of reach

State leaders are looking for funding sources for remediation work that needs to happen before many energy efficiency upgrades can be completed.  Lorenzo Wyatt owns a Connecticut energy-efficiency contracting business focused almost exclusively on low-income residents — about 80% of his customers are eligible for no-cost energy savings services through the state’s residential efficiency programs. But nearly a third of those customers are not able to weatherize their houses or apartments, and lose out on energy savings. That’s because mold, asbestos, and other health hazards discovered in their homes must be cleaned up before contractors can safely seal the space,
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Gas or clean energy? How should Aquidneck Island stay warm?

If anything, the natural gas outage on Aquidneck Island in January 2019 exposed the vulnerabilities of an area that is literally at the end of the pipeline network that sends gas around New England. The interruption, which left thousands of people without heat on some of the coldest days that winter, was the result of an extraordinary set of circumstances — a malfunctioning valve on a transmission line in Massachusetts, a spike in demand caused by the frigid weather and the failure of a liquefied natural gas plant in Providence to pump much-needed supplies into the system. National Grid, the only utility that distributes gas in
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Massachusetts drivers are starting to buy electric cars again

A state incentive program just saw its best two months since the coronavirus pandemic halted most car sales this spring. Clean transportation activists are praising Massachusetts’ efforts to expand its electric vehicle incentives while also arguing for changes that would put vehicles within reach for more households. …. Electric vehicle sales are slowly rebounding in the state: In September, the number of new purchases submitted for an incentive payment more than doubled from the previous month, from 156 to 339. In October, the number edged up to 345. These totals fall well short of the peaks reached in 2018, but
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Regional TCI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Comments

“We, the undersigned transportation, health, environment, business, labor, and community groups and regional and state coalitions, write to express our collective position on the proposed regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) program that Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and D.C. have been developing since 2017, and for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) committing to the program is expected later this year….”

Maine Company Looks to Tidal Power as Renewable Energy’s Next Generation

After years of development, tidal and river energy supporters say the technology is on the cusp of wider commercial deployment, especially if it can win federal support. With much of New England’s attention on offshore wind, a Maine company hopes to put itself on the map with tidal energy. Portland, Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Eastport on a five-year plan to develop a $10 million microgrid primarily powered by tidal generation. The project will be an opportunity for the small port city to expand its workforce and build its appeal
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Energy Bill Takes on Storm Response and Grid Reform Challenges

Energy legislation wasn’t on the radar for any special legislative sessions called to deal with critical issues lost to the COVID-cancelled session from this winter. Even the annual July electric rate adjustment –- which this year contained big increases that sparked public outrage — would not have warranted legislation. That was until Tropical Storm Isaias strafed Connecticut on Aug. 4, leaving close to 1 million customers without power and enduring the slow recovery that followed. As legislators meet this week, a bill aimed at holding Eversource, especially, and the state’s other electric utility United Illuminating to account for future storm
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Will FERC’s Latest Order Open the Door for Distributed Resources?

It is time for the U.S. electric grid to start thinking small. The grid of the future will be built around distributed energy resources (DERs) such as rooftop solar, neighborhood battery storage, and advanced energy efficiency and smart appliances, capable of responding to fluctuations in electricity demand to optimize energy use and supply. DERs encompass a wide variety of technologies – they can be small-scale energy generators, smart appliances, renewable and non-renewable generating resources. In aggregation, DERs contribute to a more distributed, decentralized, and responsive grid. They also reduce demand for electricity from fossil fuel plants, avoiding the need for
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Hammering out Maine’s Climate Action Plan: Deep Dive into the BIH Working Group Recommendations

Maine’s Climate Action plan is being hammered out this year by the Maine Climate Council, convened by Gov. Janet Mills. The Climate Action Plan will be a roadmap to achieving Maine’s goals of reaching 45% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030, and at least 80% by 2050. This blog takes you on a deep dive into the process of creating recommendations for the Action Plan, particularly for the Buildings, Infrastructure, and Housing Working Group. You can access more of the recommendations here. In May, despite the coronavirus, the Acadia Center and its partners convened a (virtual) meeting of more than
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Commentary: Maine’s renewable-energy industry gets a double shot in the arm

Opinion Major new solar and offshore wind projects help position us as a hub to start, grow and maintain energy businesses. Maine has incredible natural energy resources that can and should be an engine of its economy. New solar and offshore wind projects help position Maine as a hub to start, grow and maintain energy businesses in a global market. This week, Maine put out the welcome mat and opened the door to being a leader in clean energy. First, two solar development companies on both sides of the Atlantic joined forces to advance projects to generate 350 megawatts of renewable energy
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Stop investing in natural gas. Invest more in renewable energy.

Opinion With increasing renewable energy mandates in almost every New England state and growing amounts of imported power, there is only so much of the energy pie left for natural gas. Ten years ago, some might have called natural gas a “bridge fuel.” But it’s 2020. A better analogy is that we’re already halfway across the river. That’s based on the results of a recent study from Acadia Center, The Declining Role of Natural Gas Power in New England. It shows that new natural gas power plants like NTE Energy’s proposed plant near Killingly — and the pipelines to supply them —
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