RI Biomass Bill Sparks Debate Between Environmentalists, Green Energy Developers

Rhode Island lawmakers want biomass to be a part of that program, but environmentalists are against the idea. “Burning biomass produces carbon dioxide, of course, and a host of other pollutants, including particulate matter and nitrous oxide,” Erika Niedowski, policy advocate for Acadia Center, said. Read or listen to the full report from Rhode Island Public Radio here.

Natural gas is not a clean fuel

Altemose is correct that the Globe overstates the environmental impact of this winter’s reliance on old coal- and oil-fired generating plants.  A May 2018 report from the Acadia Center states  “annual GHG emissions from electricity generation in New England have continued to trend strongly downward since the early 2000s, even when taking the 2017-18 winter into account.” An even more worrisome aspect of the Globe’s stance on the use of coal and oil on especially frigid winter days is the message that natural gas is a clean fuel.  That is the unrelenting drumbeat of the fossil fuel industry, and it is disturbing to watch the Globe amplify
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R.I. lawmakers poised to OK biomass bill

But environmental groups that include the Conservation Law Foundation and the Acadia Center counter that burning wood waste will produce carbon emissions and nitrous oxides. They also say that if the plant were to burn other construction or demolition debris, it would release potential contaminants from lead paint and arsenic. “Expanding use of biomass will increase conventional air pollution by subsidizing a technology — wood burning — that is one of the largest sources of air pollution in the U.S. per megawatt hour of energy produced,” James Bryan McCaffrey, of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, wrote in testimony to the
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Another skirmish in the pipeline wars

Mark LeBel, a staff attorney at Acadia, said no one wants to see emission levels go up. “But the bottom line is in terms of overall pollution you want to look at annual progress,” he said. On that score, he said, New England is headed in the right direction. Read the full article from CommonWealth Magazine here.

Nuclear waste storage projects receive bipartisan boost

Titus on Thursday proposed an amendment paving the way for consent-based siting and scrapping the Yucca Mountain project. It failed 332-80. Emily Lewis of the Acadia Center, which promotes clean energy, said Friday a “consensus-based process” was favorable, because “we need a central repository for that waste, but it seems like that community does not want that storage.” Read the full article from The Day here (article may be behind paywall).

R.I. Plays Catch-Up When It Comes to Solar Siting

Legislation also has bee filed at the Statehouse to address the issue. The Rhode Island Energy Resources Acthas the support of OER, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Rhode Island Farm Bureau, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Rhode Island Builders Association, the Northeast Clean Energy Council, the Conservation Law Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. Another bill was recently introduced that would severely hinder the construction of solar facilities and other renewable-energy projects on forestland. Environmental groups, such as the Audubon Society and the Conservation Law Foundation, have pushed back against this bill,
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After near derailment, energy bill heads to governor as fence-mending begins

This legislation effectively gets rid of net-metering, making Connecticut one of the first states to do that. For commercial projects, that would come in about a year and a half. For residential customers it will be in a few years. Existing customers would be grandfathered for about 20 years. In place of net-metering consumers would have a choice. One would be rates – known as tariffs – and formulas for applying them that would be determined by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Some argue those unknown factors might be disruptive, if not downright stagnating for the solar industry in the
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D. Maurice Kreis: Rolling blackouts in New Hampshire? Not a chance

Energy policy driven by fear and unrealistic projections drives up the bills paid by utility customers. So, we share the concern of our coalition partners that the ISO New England fuel security study does not get the story right. … The bottom line: a more realistic business-as-usual scenario “shows few operational issues and no reliability threats” in the hypothetical extreme winter of 2024-25 that is the focus of the fuel security analysis. Translation: No rolling blackouts, no electricity rationing. Read the full article from Concord Monitor here.

Energy bill still embroiled in controversy but probably heading to the floor

A coalition that includes the environmental groups Acadia Center, Vote Solar, Environment Connecticut, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment and Connecticut Citizen Action Group, as well as the solar companies Vivint and Sunrun, announced their opposition to the bill in a statement: “We favor smart, simple, and gradual net metering reform for rooftop solar, and not the complex and drastic reforms that exist in the present bill language,” it said in part. Read the full article from the CT Mirror here.

N.Y. grid operator floats carbon price

The document is meant to get power-sector stakeholders down to brass tacks on how, in practical terms, New York can put a price on carbon if the U.S. government won’t. Parties are digesting the proposal as they prepare for a May 14 meeting. The minute details will be heavily debated, but so far, many just seem glad the process is underway. “NYISO’s draft proposal for a carbon adder would send an important and overdue price signal to the market necessary for New York to achieve its ambitious carbon reduction policies in place to meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said
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