Energy

Marine insight

Governor Chris Sununu says it looks unlikely new offshore drilling would affect New Hampshire, but regional fishery managers are still worried.

The U.S. Department of the Interior says it wants to open most of the nation's coastline to new oil and gas leases. Sununu opposes drilling off New Hampshire's Seacoast, and says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke assured him the North Atlantic won't be high priority.

NHPR Photo

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers wants Gov. Chris Sununu to support another big New Hampshire-based power line, now that the future of the Northern Pass project is in doubt.

The controversial transmission line proposal from Eversource is supposed to get a big contract with Massachusetts to help meet the state's renewable energy goals. But New Hampshire regulators denied Northern Pass its final permit last week. Now, Bay State officials are weighing whether to pick a different option.

Some New Hampshire legislators hope that option will be National Grid’s Granite State Power Link, a competitor to Northern Pass that’s still in the early stages of development. 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

New England utility markets are still processing Thursday’s rejection of the Northern Pass project application at the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee.

Eversource’s 192-mile transmission line proposal had just been picked by Massachusetts for a big contract to bring Canadian hydropower to New England.

Now that the project has stalled, Massachusetts says only that it's re-evaluating. Its other options include other big, hydro-fueled transmission lines.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

UPDATE:  New Hampshire regulators began final discussions Tuesday on whether to grant a permit to the Northern Pass transmission line. 

State officials and public representatives at the Site Evaluation Committee in Concord will meet 12 times between now and Feb. 23.

NHPR File Photo

Eversource’s Northern Pass transmission line is the sole project picked for long-term energy contract negotiations with Massachusetts.

Officials made the announcement Thursday afternoon, less than a week before New Hampshire begins its final permitting deliberations on the controversial project.

Northern Pass would carry 1,090 megawatts of power from Hydro Quebec dams to the New England grid, over a partly-buried 192-mile power line. It would run under New Hampshire’s White Mountains and mainly follow existing transmission lines, ending in Deerfield.

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

Energy developers are set to learn Thursday which of their projects will get long-term contracts to provide 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy to Massachusetts.

Several projects in New Hampshire are in the running.

Developers sent in more than 40 proposals to bring hydro, solar and wind power to Massachusetts, primarily from Northern New England and Canada.

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

Some New Hampshire business owners say the Trump administration's new tax on imported solar panels will slow the growth of residential solar use in the Granite State.

The tariff starts at 30 percent and drops 5 percent in each of the next three years. It's not as severe as Trump could have imposed, and it’s meant to boost the American solar manufacturing industry.

BOEM

Hearings on plans to open New England and most of the nation's coastline to offshore drilling have been postponed due to the government shutdown.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was set to talk about the proposal in Concord on Tuesday. It’s rescheduling that meeting and others this week in Maine, Boston, and Providence, while some of its funding is suspended and employees are furloughed.

Hearings in the drilling hubs of Louisiana and Alaska are also postponed this week. A hearing in Hartford, Connecticut, is still set for February.

Michael Kappel / Flickr CC

A new report says New England could see rolling power blackouts within a matter of years without more stable fuel supplies.

ISO-New England is an independent nonprofit that manages the six-state power grid. The group studied how fuel supply and demand might play out in those states in the hypothetical winter of 2024 to 2025.

Read the report here.

NHPR File Photo

As Massachusetts prepares to announce where it will buy 1,200 megawatts of new renewable power, the 46 projects in the running – including many with a big footprint in New Hampshire – are hoping for the best.

Among the smaller-scale wind, hydro and solar installations that are vying for a Massachusetts contract are big transmission lines to carry Canadian hydro- and wind power.

Those include Eversource’s Northern Pass, and two National Grid plans to use mostly existing power lines in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

National Grid Map

Developers behind a transmission line that's competing with Northern Pass to supply renewable energy to Massachusetts will hold a listening session in Concord on Thursday.

National Grid's Granite State Power Link would carry 1,200 megawatts of Canadian wind power through Northern Vermont to Monroe, New Hampshire.

Boston-based nonprofit Citizens Energy is co-developing the project. They'll be at the Concord Holiday Inn from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday to talk about how the power line could benefit low-income families along its route.

Wikimedia commons

Governor Chris Sununu says he opposes oil drilling off New Hampshire's coast, as the federal government proposes opening the North Atlantic region and much of the nation's coastline to oil and gas production.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wants to hold two auctions for offshore drilling space between New Jersey and Maine, in 2021 and 2023 – plus four more auctions in the South and Mid-Atlantic.

Kim Carpenter via Flickr CC

As the record cold continues, programs in New Hampshire that help people pay their heating bills are seeing more demand.

In Sullivan and Cheshire counties, Southwestern Community Services chief operating officer Beth Daniels says they have about as many enrollees so far this year as normal – around 3,500, with at least 5,000 expected by the end of winter.

But she says the cold is having an impact:

"All last week and already today has been phenomenally busy, just people calling us out of heat, out of fuel, or very [close] to being out,” she says.

via NEPGA

New England's electrical grid is working overtime to keep up with power demand during this record cold spell – but analysts say recent upgrades to the system's safety net are paying off.

Dan Dolan is president of the New England Power Generators Association. He says his members learned their lesson from 2014's Polar Vortex, when fuel prices spiked as power suppliers scrambled to meet demand.

Intriguing: Top 2017 Science and Tech Stories

Dec 20, 2017
Allegra Boverman, NHPR

We discuss the top stories in science, technology, the environment and energy in New Hampshire in the past year.  From the eclipse that captivated the nation's attention to the biofabrication industry gaining steam in the Manchester Millyard, we look at top stories nationally and in New Hampshire, including extreme weather, solar power, and a bitcoin bubble.  Plus intriguing discoveries in outer space and in the human body.


Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Construction of the state’s largest solar array is set to wrap up by the end of the year.

The project, in Moultonborough, will help power the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative's grid.

The array is the first energy source the Electric Co-op will own and operate itself -- it buys the rest of its power for its 84,000 customers, in 115 towns across the state, on the open market.

The new solar project will only cover about 1 percent of that load, but spokesman Seth Wheeler says it’s a long-term investment.

Liberty Utilities wants to build a new natural gas pipeline between the Seacoast and Manchester, in an effort to expand the state's strained capacity for the fuel at the lowest cost to ratepayers.

Michael Kappel via Flickr CC

New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period, according to a national environmental group. But some observers are skeptical, while one utility named in the report is calling it an outright fabrication.

New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period, according to a report by a national environmental group. It's prompted a review by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, but one utility named in the report is calling it an outright fabrication.

File photo

A soup kitchen and shelter in New Hampshire will soon be one of the first in the Northeast to be powered by solar energy.

Jim Richmond

Federal regulators will allow the non-profit nuclear watchdog group C-10 to weigh in on a regulatory review of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.

C-10 has raised concerns about how the plant's owner, NextEra Energy, is addressing concrete degradation caused by a chemical reaction.

Seabrook is the only nuclear power plant in the country known to be affected by this chemical reaction.

NextEra Energy has 25 days to appeal the decision.

  The state committee reviewing Northern Pass has pushed back its deadline to make a decision, but a spokesman for the hydro-electric transmission project tells NHPR, “the end is in sight.”

 

“To use an overused sports analogy,” Martin Murray says, “We’re in the fourth quarter.”

 

Others might say it is overtime.

 

Britta Greene/NHPR

More than 100 people gathered on the Lebanon green Saturday to rally against a proposed natural gas development in town.

NHPR Staff

Protesters sat in the black plastic chairs of the Keene City Council chambers in June, hand-lettered signs at their feet. At issue at the meeting was a proposal by Liberty Utilities.

SARATOGA ASSOCIATES

The state's highest court will hear arguments involving a proposed wind farm in the town of Antrim.  It's the latest development in a years-long battle for the Antrim Wind project, which has been under development since 2009.

Richard McNeil/Wikimedia Commons

Several high profile energy transmission projects submitted their applications Thursday, as the deadline passed for the next round of Massachusetts's clean energy program.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Residents of Webster and nearby communities gathered Tuesday night to learn more about National Grid’s recently proposed energy transmission project.

National Grid is holding a series of ‘community meetings’ to gather input and discuss details of its proposed Granite State Power Link project, which would bring hydropower from Canada through New Hampshire on its way to southern New England.

After meeting with residents in Littleton last week, National Grid is holding public sessions in Monroe on Monday at 6:30 pm inside the Town Hall. On Tuesday, representatives will be in Webster’s Town Hall, starting at 6:30 pm.

Debating Nuclear Energy: The Promise & Problems

Jul 11, 2017
Jim Richmond; Wikimedia Commons

Nuclear provides about a third of New England's electricity, but that's changing, as old plants in Vermont and Massachusetts shut down.  Still, there's huge debate over whether to build the next generation of nuclear.  Is it a reliable, carbon-free energy source...or is it too dangerous and expensive?


Steve and Michelle Gerdes / Flicker CC

A recent ruling by state utility regulators removes the limits on how much electricity owners of solar panels can sell back to the grid.

In a decision announced last Friday, the Public Utilities Commission says it’s doing away with the current 100-megawatt limit on solar net-metering. That’s when owners of solar panels sell any unused energy they generate back to the public grid.

The decision settles a long running debate between advocates for the state’s growing solar industry, and utility companies.

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