Monthly Archives: February 2018

Solar Plus Batteries Beat Out Natural Gas In Two US Electricity Markets

by Steve Hanley, Clean Technica 
February 15, 2018

Bloomberg reports that the combination of solar power plants and grid scale battery storage is now cheaper than natural gas and utility companies all across the US are starting to notice. First Solar has recently won a contract to supply Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility company, with electricity during the hours of 3 pm and 8 pm when demand for electricity is highest.

Previously, peaker plants powered by natural gas were used for that purpose, but First Solar underbid all other competitors. To fulfill the terms of the contract, it will construct a 65 megawatt solar power plant and supplement it with a 50 megawatt battery capable of supplying the needs of 16,500 homes for up to 3 hours, according to AZCentral, an affiliate of USA Today. The new system is expected to be operation in 2021.

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Gas pipeline opponents urge Baker to ‘break up’ with industry

Advocates for clean energy delivered a Valentine’s Day-themed message to Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday

By Statehouse News Service, via Metro USA
February 14, 2018

Clean energy advocates on Wednesday delivered a Valentine’s Day message to Gov. Charlie Baker, handing one of his aides a bouquet of roses and a stack of red construction-paper hearts with the handwritten message, “Break up with gas pipelines.”

Addressing the group gathered outside Baker’s office, Cathy Kristofferson of Ashby said the governor has not ruled out natural gas as part of the state’s energy mix, and called on him to do so.

“We need the state agencies to hold these gas companies for what we need for emissions reductions and all that, so we would like to have them actually now take gas off the table, break up with gas pipelines and bring on the solar, and the wind and the storage,” she said.

The demonstration came two days after a Senate committee endorsed an omnibus clean energy bill that would ban new natural gas infrastructure, set new targets for emission reductions and use the market to curb fossil fuel use.

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Clean Energy Advocates Meet with Congressman Kennedy

Newton, Massachusetts – January 26, 2018 –
Representatives from a coalition of concerned medical, climate, and citizen advocacy groups came together to meet with Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Friday, January 26 to discuss the urgent need for leadership to circumvent a Massachusetts energy policy that refers to natural gas as a bridge fuel calling for more gas capacity projects. “There is nothing ‘natural’ about so-called natural gas,” countered SCNU President Wendy Graça, “and if it is a bridge fuel, it is a bridge to nowhere. We are at a crossroads and decisions we make today will either impede or accelerate our efforts toward a clean energy future.” While climate activist Mary Dewart emphasized that, “There are better, real-world alternatives to our Governor’s ‘combo platter’ energy approach which is already overloaded with gas. Massachusetts businesses are driving clean energy jobs and economic growth, and what we need to do now is modernize our grid towards renewables, not invest in more dirty energy projects.”

Dr. Brita Lundberg, an infectious diseases physician and member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, expressed the growing concern of the medical community over direct human exposures to toxins, carcinogens, and environmental pollutants from natural gas infrastructure (NGI), as well as the indirect health consequences of methane gas as a contributor to climate change. Citing a mounting body of medical evidence, Dr. Lundberg touched on known human health impacts from hazardous air pollutant exposure to methane gas releases such as asthma and other respiratory complaints. She also referenced illnesses from exposures to benzene and other carcinogens, which have been detected in populations living close to the gas drilling rigs, including childhood cancers such as acute lymphocytic leukemia. When considering the health consequences, Beth Rodio of Mothers Out Front, asked the Congressman “to think as a parent about this issue. We are concerned about the effects of fracked gas on children’s health and are asking for leadership and action from all of our representatives.”

“We have met with the Congressman before, and we really appreciate his open-door policy and readiness to listen,” said CARCS director Tracy Manzella, “and while we commend Congressman Kennedy for all of his outstanding work in Washington on our behalf, we will continue to urge him to exert whatever influence he can to address the pressing concerns of his constituents right here at home.”