The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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Eugenia T. Gibbons

Clean Energy Program Director for Mass Energy and PP&L.

"Coal’s out” shouldn’t mean more gas is in.

Image courtesy of Dynegy Inc.

With the closure of the Brayton Point, coal generation in MA is officially a thing of the past, but will it be replaced with a 21st century solution or more of the same?


May 31st marked the end of an era in Massachusetts when Brayton Point, the state’s last remaining coal-fired power plant closed. Located in Somerset, the 1500 MW plant was the largest coal-fired generator in New England. Its closure was first announced in 2013 with owners citing costs associated with maintaining the decades’ old facility and coal’s inability to compete economically with natural gas.

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons

New study confirms benefits to strengthening the Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard

 An Analysis of the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard, prepared by Synapse Energy Economics and Sustainable Energy Advantage, demonstrates that increasing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2% to 3% per year better positions the state to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), while reducing costs to consumers and creating jobs.

Press Release and full report are available online.

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons

Mass DEP Finalizing Regulations – step in right direction, but still falling short

The Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is currently finalizing regulations aimed at achieving compliance with the May 2016 decision by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) and Executive Order 569 (EO 569) signed by Governor Baker in September. In this blog post, I provide an overview of the regulations that were proposed and what lies ahead as MA attempts to comply with its climate law.

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons

Governor Baker signs Executive Order directing administration to act on climate.

Late Friday morning, Mass Energy joined policy makers and stakeholders at the Massachusetts State House to witness Governor Charlie Baker sign Executive Order 569: Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy. EO 569 directs members of the Baker administration to take steps to address climate mitigation and adaptation. Notably, the order sets August 11, 2017 as the date by which the Department of Environmental Protection must adopt regulations required to meet statewide GHG emissions reductions by 2020, in accordance with the mandates of the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) Section 3d. Regulations establishing “declining annual aggregate emissions” for sources of greenhouse gases are several years past due. This failure to pass regulations as required by law is what prompted Mass Energy to join Conservation Law Foundation in its case against the Mass DEP,  Kain v. Mass DEP, that was heard before the Supreme Judicial Court last winter and unanimously decided upon in May.

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DPU approval for pipeline tax sought no more, but Spectra project still very much in the works

In light of SJC ruling, utilities withdraw petitions that would have allowed for pipeline tax.

This week Eversource and National Grid formally filed a motion to withdraw petitions seeking approval of long term gas capacity contracts related to the Access Northeast (ANE) Project by Spectra Energy. The hotly contested tax would have helped finance pipeline construction. This move came less than a week after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued its decision finding the unprecedented cost-recovery scheme proposed by the utilities, which also happen to hold substantial financial interests in ANE, violates the 1997 Restructuring Act.

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Pipeline Tax Dead: State’s highest court rules in favor of ratepayers and the environment

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued a decision on Wednesday morning affirming what consumer and environmental advocates have maintained all along: the utility-proposed ‘pipeline tax’ violates Massachusetts law. The unprecedented scheme proposed by National Grid and Eversource and approved last fall by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) would have allowed utilities to recover costs of long-term gas capacity contracts by applying an additional charge on consumers’ monthly electric bills.

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MA Legislature passes energy bill shortly before end of session deadline

Late Sunday (July 31) night the Massachusetts Legislature passed H.4568, paving the way for the country’s largest offshore wind procurement ever. We want to thank the nearly 200 members who reached out to members of the Energy Conference Committee urging them to act to make the bill as comprehensive as possible. Although the final version does not include all the provisions we wanted, it is a step forward for renewable energy in Massachusetts. Here’s what you need to know about what passed.

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Poll shows strong opposition to consumer financing of gas pipelines

The People Over Pipelines march, which began on Thursday, July 14, culminated this morning in a rally at the State House. Nearly 200 people turned out in support of legislative action that would protect electric ratepayers from being saddled with costs from the proposed Spectra Energy Access Northeast project and others like it. At the same time that this rally was taking place, Mass Energy released the results of a survey of Massachusetts adults conducted by, an independent, bipartisan polling firm that conducts public opinion surveys worldwide.

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons

The Natural Gas Pipeline Tax is Not Dead Yet. We Have Work to Do.

Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly passed S.2400: An act to promote energy diversity. Included in the bill was Amendment #1, a unanimously adopted prohibition of the proposed “pipeline tax.” Readers of this blog are aware that Mass Energy is strongly opposed to proposals by Eversource and National Grid to increase rates on Massachusetts electricity customers in order to finance Spectra’s Access Northeast $3 billion gas pipeline. We are thrilled that the State Senate has done its part to kill this bad idea, but the game is not over.

Picture of Eugenia T. Gibbons Eugenia T. Gibbons