Northampton Energy Commission agrees to co-sponsor resolution championing goal of 100 percent renewable energy (MassLive 12/14/17)
NORTHAMPTON - The Northampton Energy and Sustainability Commission unanimously voted to co-sponsor a resolution on Thursday night that supports the goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy resources for the community.
The resolution promotes suggestions as to how Northampton can develop a comprehensive energy plan that would make energy usage as efficient as possible, eventually leading to total reliance on renewable resources--like wind and solar.
The resolution doesn't set a timeline for the achievement of this goal, merely the intention.
Northampton resident Adele Franks, an activist and Board member of the Climate Action Now Steering Committee, was present at Thursday's meeting to help explain the resolution to the Commission. (read more)
In August, Arlington joined 60 Massachusetts communities and rolled out Arlington Community Choice Aggregation.
Arlington CCA uses bulk purchasing to offer competitive electricity pricing and rate stability for consumers. The program also offers three levels of renewable energy options to consumers to reduce reliance on carbon-producing fossil fuels.
Eversource Basic Service Rate for Jan. 1 to June 30 will be $0.13157. The increase in price exceeds even the top tier of renewable energy options within Arlington CCA. (read more)
Central Mass. businesses getting creative when it comes to high energy costs (Worcester Telegram 12/11/17)
Energy is a significant cost of doing business for Central Massachusetts companies.
But from switching to more efficient light bulbs to purchasing “brown” power from animal waste, the region’s businesses are trying myriad ways to remain competitive as energy prices rise.
“I’m into brown power - cow poop,” said Christopher Crowley, executive vice president at Polar Beverages. “Cow poop and turkey poop off-gasses methane ... they recover that and are changing it into electricity.
“You never hear about it,” Mr. Crowley said, saying that brown power is responsible for 25 percent of Polar’s electricity needs. “Solar is sexy.”
Energy prices, however, are decidedly not sexy, especially in Massachusetts.
The state’s energy prices were the sixth highest in the nation in 2015 at $22.53/million Btu, the latest figures available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (read more)
MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough Hospital will soon have the capability to store energy drawn from solar panels in the Union Street facility’s parking lot.
The hospital – part of the UMass Memorial family – was one of 26 organizations to receive $20 million in energy storage grants for projects state officials characterized as game changers for energy innovation. Gov. Charlie Baker implemented the Energy Storage Initiative in 2015, which is aimed at supporting energy storage companies and accelerating the development and market for storage technologies.
“This is a long time coming for us,” said Matthew Beaton, secretary of energy and environmental affairs. ”...It really is a technology that has amazing promise.”
Baker and several state officials presented the grants during a ceremony at Marlborough Hospital Thursday. Energy storage technologies – such as zinc iron flow batteries – allow energy produced from solar panels and wind turbines during off peak hours when it less expensive to be captured and used during peak hours when it costs more to produce. (read more)
If you take the 77 bus to Harvard Square, your morning commute could shorten in 2018. Thanks to a new grant from Boston’s Barr Foundation announced on Dec. 5, Arlington will be launching a bus rapid transit (BRT) pilot program on Massachusetts Avenue in 2018.
In partnership with the MBTA, the pilot program seeks to demonstrate the potential benefits of BRT in high-ridership, high-traffic areas.
According to a press release from the Barr Foundation announcing the grant award, the goal is to improve the transit experience for the most people. The released noted during peak commute times, there can be twice as many people in buses than cars. (read more)
BRAINTREE – The heavy rains of March 2010 are a good indicator of how climate change is likely to affect Braintree, Anne Herbst of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council said Monday night.
The Monatiquot River flooded the town’s public works garage, displacing the public works department for months. Flooding at the intersection of Hancock, Plain and Washington streets blocked heavily traveled routes and halted service on a commuter rail line.
Following the storms, the federal flood insurance program paid out $1.2 million in Braintree claims, and uninsured costs in town totaled $1.1 million.
The town received $319,000 in disaster-relief funding from the federal government.
With temperatures rising and precipitation increasing, such storms are likely to hit more often, Herbst said. (read more)
HYANNIS — David Vallee described a scenario all too familiar to attendees at the 5th annual Cape Coastal Conference: sea level rise combined with more frequent and more severe storms to endanger Cape Cod property and lives.
He wasn’t forecasting a distant future; it’s a world that already exists, said Vallee, the hydrologist-in-charge for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center in Rhode Island.
“Storms are more vicious, of greater magnitude, and more frequent,” said Vallee, who spoke at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis during a panel on flood risk, vulnerability and how Cape communities can prepare for storms and flooding.
An extremely active Atlantic hurricane season ended five days ago with 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes. A record three Category 4 hurricanes hit the continental U.S., according to NOAA. (read more)
Town officials plan to move forward with an ordinance that would require some new developments to be ready to accept solar panels.
As of Jan. 1, 2018, all new buildings and construction in Watertown must be solar ready. However, the Town Council’s Economic Development and Planning Committee on Wednesday suggested that is not enough.
“If you can make it solar ready, you can make it solar,” said committee chair Susan Falkoff. “The issue of solar readiness is no longer relevant, either you can do solar or you can’t do solar. There’s no point in being solar ready if you can’t do solar.”
Solar systems, generally speaking, need to be placed on reinforced roofs that don’t receive much shade and on buildings which have electrical infrastructure able to handle the power generated. (read more)
SANDWICH — A Sunday protest against NRG Energy’s expansion of its Canal Generating Plant in Sandwich made mounting statewide concerns about an overreliance on natural gas the subject of a short theatrical skit. The drama, which played out in front of the site of the planned and permitted 350-megawatt turbine, provoked more conversation about the town’s — and the Cape’s — energy future.
“No more fossil fuel projects do we want to see,” a chorus of advocates belonging to 350 Mass/Cape Cod exclaimed before Sandwich residents. “Invest in clean energy, resist Canal 3!”
The local climate action group joined the Sierra Club Massachusetts chapter, the Conservation Law Foundation and local residents to express their concerns about the town-supported expansion of NRG Energy’s Canal Generating Plant, which received state approval on June 30. (read more)
Several dozen people turned out Wednesday night at Quincy High School to hear former Gov. Michael Dukakis and other advocates for the long-discussed North-South Rail Link.
The link, which has been floated for decades, would involve the construction of a tunnel between South Station and North Station in downtown Boston. It would connect the MBTA commuter rail lines north and south of the city and allow Amtrak lines south of Boston to meet up with an existing line that continues north of the city to Maine.
“This is about providing Massachusetts – and New England, for that matter – with a first-rate regional rail system,” Dukakis said. (read more)
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