Wind Power Is Now the Largest Installed Renewable: 82,000 MW And Counting

According to the American Wind Energy Association blog, installed wind capacity in the United States has reached 82,000 MW.  That puts it past the 80,000 MW of installed hydropower capacity and makes wind the largest installed renewable energy resource.

While the overall number represents a significant milestone, some of the details are interesting as well.  Wind represents 5.5% of US generation.  Moreover,… More

Climate Change Will Increase Peak Energy Demand By More Than We Thought: More Storage, Perhaps?

In an interesting study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors predict that climate change will have a more significant impact on peak energy demand than had previously been understood.  They conclude that, in a business as usual case, peak demand will increase 18%, leading to a need to spend $180B (in current dollars) to meet that increased peak demand.… More

DOER Presents Final Program Design for Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (“SMART”) Anticipated for January 2018 and Extension of SREC II Program for Approximately One Year

On January 31, 2017, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson and Mike Judge, Director of the Renewable and Alternative Energy Division at DOER, presented the agency’s final proposal for design of its successor to the successful Solar Carve-out and Solar Carve-out II programs in a 3-hour public meeting.

It’s called SMART and lest you doubt that it is, DOER included the following equation in its presentation to prove it:

(Helpfully,… More

Update: Massachusetts DPU Sets a February 24th Intervention Deadline in Eversource Rate Case

According to a Notice issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) on January 30, 2017, parties who desire to participate in the evidentiary phase of the D.P.U. 17-05 proceeding, which will review Eversource’s recently-filed petition to increase its rates, have until February 24, 2017 to file a written petition for leave to intervene in the case.  See our recent blog post for a summary of some of the key components of the company’s filing.… More

Eversource Proposes Rate Increases and $400 Million in Grid Modernization Investments

On January 17, 2017, Eversource Energy filed a petition with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) that would increase base distribution rates for its 1.4 million electricity customers across the Commonwealth.  The company’s proposal states that it would increase a typical residential customer’s total monthly bill by approximately seven percent in eastern Massachusetts and approximately ten percent in the western part of the state.  According to the petition, the rate increase is necessary to alleviate revenue deficiencies of Eversource’s subsidiaries,… More

Massachusetts DOER to Propose Successor to SREC II Program

In a letter circulated on January 24, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced it will present a final proposed design of a new solar incentive program at a meeting on January 31, 2017.

DOER has worked with stakeholders over the last several months to develop a successor program to the Solar Carve Out II Program (SREC II). Final details are not yet available,… More

Cybersecurity 2017 – The Year in Preview: Energy and Security

By Christopher Cifrono

In 2015, a sophisticated cyberattack hit six of Ukraine’s energy providers simultaneously, causing a blackout for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.  The U.S. has thus far evaded similar attacks, but the energy sector remains of vital strategic importance.  Because it has long been considered a prime target for cyber threats, from cybercriminals and foreign states alike, regulators, especially at the federal level,… More

MA Appellate Tax Board Again Finds Virtually Net Metered Solar Facility Exempted from Property Taxation

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Appellate Tax Board (the “Board”) has again ruled that a ‘virtual’ net-metered solar PV project is exempted from property taxation under clause “forty-fifth” of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 59, Section 5. This time, the board promulgated its Findings of Fact and Report in KTT, LLC v. Board of Assessors of The Town of Swansea.

Beyond Forrestall

The Findings represent yet another major change in the application of the Commonwealth’s property tax exemption for off-site,… More

Transportation CO2 Surpasses Power Sector CO2: Good News or Bad?

co2-sources-since-1973Last week, DOE announced that transportation sector CO2 emissions in the US exceeded power sector CO2 emissions for the first time since 1978. Why?  The combination of increasing vehicle miles traveled in the transportation sector and the decreasing use of coal in the power sector is certainly most of the answer.

The real question is whether this is good news or bad news.… More

DOER’s Solar Incentive Straw Proposal: Optimism, Anxiety, Uncertainty.

beautiful sunrise and cloudy sky

On September 23, DOER presented a straw proposal for the next phase of Massachusetts solar incentives. DOER’s ambitious proposal for a tariff-based program reflects a thoughtful development process and a laudable goal of crafting a program that is more efficient at promoting sustained solar deployment. There is plenty to like. But, DOER has bitten off quite a mouthful by proposing a structure that departs so dramatically from the SREC approach.  … More