Herding cats: Controversy over the solar siting bill in Rhode Island

This approach appears to give a lot of leeway to towns and cities to make their own decisions about how to regulate the siting of solar, and would also steer developers to previously disturbed sites. As such it was endorsed by many of the main non-profits active in the environmental and energy space, including Conservation Law Foundation, Audubon Society, Acadia Center, Save the Bay and Green Energy Consumers Alliance. Read the full article from PV Magazine here.

Our View: Fewer cars, cleaner air should be goal for Maine transit

But lowering emissions will show that Maine is serious about contributing to a very important fight. It will make us healthier, too – according to the Rockport-based Acadia Center, passenger vehicle emissions were responsible for $500 million in health costs in Maine in 2015. The Acadia Center also figures that modernizing and making green Maine’s transportation system would be a boost to the economy. By prioritizing electric cars and buses – and by implementing a vehicle emissions cap-and-trade plan based on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Maine can raise $1 billion in new wages, create 8,700 long-term jobs and reduce emissions by 45
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Lawmakers want to amend 2018 energy bill

The bill was a major issue in the energy landscape that met Gov. Lamont when he took office with an agenda that was at odds parts of the 2018 law. “This was a big one coming into this year,” Arconti said just prior to the committee vote, two days before its deadline to act. “I think we have a really good framework going forward to a final product, and not having to address it for a while after the session.” “It’s way better than it was, and it’s going to save Connecticut jobs, but it won’t expand the solar industry,”
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Threat of shutdown hovers over negotiations between Millstone and utilities over power prices

The Malloy administration last year selected Millstone as a source of “low-cost zero carbon energy” and offshore wind that combined will bolster Connecticut’s contribution to reduced emissions. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection directed Eversource and UI to negotiate a price downward “to better reflect a reasonable rate of return for the plant’s owner, Dominion Energy,” then-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in December. A “normal utility rate of return on equity” is 9 percent, but the state would consider 12 percent to 15 percent reasonable for a plant with a long-term contract, Malloy said. Emily Lewis, a senior
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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.

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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