Eversource begins rollout of 400 electric car chargers across Massachusetts; 'range anxiety' seen as enemy to emissions progress (MassLive 8/29/18)
SPRINGFIELD -- With its rounded top and the two crescent-shaped handles at its side, the electric vehicle charging station on display Wednesday bears an odd resemblance to an old-fashioned gas pump.
But the charger, which will be installed permanently in the Union Station parking garage in the next few weeks, is more the future than the past, said Jim Hunt, Eversource senior vice president and chief communications officer.
Hunt hosted a news conference with Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, who pointed to the charger's retro look, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, and others.
Over the next five years, Eversource will spent $45 million to install more than 400 charging sites across Massachusetts as part of its Grid Modernization plan.
Hunt said Eversource has made great progress in switching from dirty coal to cleaner fuels like natural gas, offshore wind, hydroelectricity and solar power. (read more)
Forecasters say it’s going to feel hotter than 100 degrees outside, and this hazy, hot and humid weather is expected to stick around until Wednesday night.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning that will remain in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday until 9 p.m. Wednesday, because heat index values could reach as high as 105 degrees in some places.
“The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during outdoor exertion or extended exposure,” the weather service said. “Take extra precautions, if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.”
Tuesday will be mostly sunny and hot, with highs in the upper 90s, and Wednesday night will be mostly clear and humid, forecasters said. (read more)
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced that the city will issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) to assist with the creation of a municipal electricity aggregation program. The government says the move demonstrates the city’s commitment to making renewable energy more accessible to Boston residents.
The RFQ, to be issued on Aug. 27, seeks consulting firms to help with the development, implementation and administration of the program. Submissions will be due on Oct. 10.
“This is a big step toward rolling out community choice aggregation because it will provide the expertise we need to get it done,” says Walsh. “We still need to make smart decisions on how to shape a program that’s best for Boston residents and can deliver on our commitment to clean energy.”
Community choice aggregation enables cities and towns to aggregate the buying power of individual electricity customers in their communities. Under a municipal aggregation program, cities and towns can automatically enroll residents who receive default electricity service from their utilities into a single, bulk-buying group and may require a greater percentage of renewable energy content than the mandatory percentage set by Massachusetts’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS).(read more)
A City Council proposal to encourage building projects that create as much energy as they use is due to be unveiled in the fall — but developers warned it may not be practical.
“Boston has an incredible building boom. We have an opportunity and responsibility to put forward environmentally friendly development,” Councilor Matt O’Malley said. “It’s about incentives. I want this to be about carrots, not sticks.”
O’Malley’s proposal, which is not yet finalized, would provide incentives to developers who build so-called “net-zero” projects, largely through the zoning code. O’Malley said he and a group of councilors, city officials, climate advocates and construction industry representatives have been meeting to come up with the right way to go forward. He said the first of several proposals will likely be brought before the council in October or November. (read more)
Boston is suffering through what could end up being the hottest summer ever, and it could be a sign of things to come, according to new research.
Researchers say summer weather has become more persistent, whether it’s heavy rain or heat waves in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. Their work on “summer weather stalling” suggests it is linked to the disproportionate warming of the Arctic due to the greenhouse effect.
Evidence is growing, researchers said, that because of that warming natural atmospheric circulation patterns are being distorted — and that’s affecting local and regional weather patterns. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. (read more)
North Shore cities and towns could get more money for local projects through a $2.4 billion environmental bond bill that was sent to the governor's desk on Monday.
The legislation was among a slew of major bills lawmakers have been racing to wrap up as the formal session quickly draws to a close. Even if Gov. Charlie Baker signs the bill — he has until Aug. 9 — the money will not necessarily be spent on the projects. He would need to release the funds separately for projects, at a later date.
Lawmakers say the bill is focused on preparing for climate change, protecting natural resources, and investing in parks and other recreational areas.
Rep. Jerry Parisella, D-Beverly, said the bill also authorizes the governor to spend $2 million to dredge the Bass River, $500,000 to make repairs to get the Greenergy solar park at Beverly High School operational again, and $500,000 for restoration of the Miles River, which runs through Beverly, Wenham, Hamilton and Ipswich.
“Massachusetts has been a leader in combating climate change, and this bill will ensure that we do our part to mitigate the impacts of global warming, while also providing vital funds for improvements to our parks, wetlands, coastal areas and enhance the 'green' economy,” Parisella said. (read more)
Concord adopts Complete Streets policy, to improve driver, pedestrian and cyclist safety (Wicked Local Concord 7/31/18)
The Concord Select Board voted to approve the adoption of the Complete Streets policy Monday, July 30, in hopes of making Concord’s roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The Complete Streets Funding Program is a Massachusetts Department of Transportation initiative that provides technical assistance and construction funding for infrastructure projects in the commonwealth.
According to the department’s website, “a complete street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes -- walking, biking, transit and vehicles -- for people of all ages and abilities.”
This can mean anything from widening sidewalks for people using wheelchairs, adding bike lanes to roads or changing traffic light configurations in areas to discourage jaywalking.
“The program will allow Concord to not only to create a prioritization plan but also be eligible for $400,000 annually,” Department of Public Works Director Richard Reine said. (read more)
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