Oil and natural gas prices are on the rise globally in a big way and that means electricity and heating fuel rates will go up too. When you add it all up, this is going to be an expensive winter.
Updated October 8th. Recently, we posted a blog about the proposals by Massachusetts’ investor-owned utility companies (Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil) to expand their electric vehicle (EV) programs through 2025. Alongside the proposals for what the utility companies can do to support EVs, the utilities have filed their second round of Grid Modernization Plans (GMPs), continuing the work begun in grid modernization filings in 2018. This time, the filings include plans for the statewide roll out of smart meters. In the coming months, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will deliberate over the utilities’ Grid Modernization Plans and Advanced Meter Implementation Plans.
Compared to parts of the country that have much greater summer cooling needs, New Englanders have more options to keep ourselves comfortable affordably and sustainably. Unless you have someone in your home who needs central air conditioning for health reasons, we encourage you to look to room air conditioners and fans, particularly ceiling fans. Here are some tips, offered by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy.
A few months ago, news broke that National Grid planned to sell the Narragansett Electric and Gas Companies to a Pennsylvania-based company named PPL. In its deal with PPL, National Grid hopes to gain PPL’s business in the United Kingdom in exchange for Rhode Island’s electric and gas customers. However, this is not a done deal: over the coming year, Rhode Island regulators are charged with reviewing whether the sale is in the “public interest.” The Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities’ decision will have significant impacts not just on the two companies, but on consumers, state policy, and climate action.
Last month, we predicted that summer temperatures might drive high demand — high enough to cause a peak day! Indeed, despite the depressive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional electricity demand, weeks that saw 90+ degree days across New England were enough for us to call peaks on July 20th, 27th, and 28th. A peak electricity demand day is a day on which extreme weather (usually hot temperatures) leads to a spike in electricity demand; these spikes are associated with more expensive and polluting electricity than usual.
Last month, we covered some of the impacts that COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders have had on our electric grid. This month, the pandemic has continued to drive low electricity demand and record low electricity prices. Even better, low demand and higher than ever solar production has led to a greener grid. But as temperatures rise and stay-at-home orders relax this summer, can we expect low demand, prices, and emissions to continue?
Over the past two months, the world’s daily patterns have changed drastically. As we know from Shave the Peak, even small changes to routines, especially during peak hours, can have an outsize impact on the emissions, costs, and fuel mix of our electricity system. So it’s no surprise to see that the pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home orders have shifted many aspects of the electricity mix, here in New England and beyond. In fact, the average cost of electricity during March was the lowest in market history, in large part because of the pandemic.
So what’s going on in our electricity mix, and why? And perhaps most importantly, what lessons from the pandemic’s impact on the electric system should we be taking into the future?
Have you been hearing from "green" electricity suppliers like CleanChoice Energy? You might want to support renewable energy, but are skeptical if your money will actually go toward shifting our electricity away from fossil fuels.
This is a valid concern, and (because of our awesome Green Powered electricity program) one we hear often. That's why we address it pretty regularly on our blog.
Green Energy Consumers Alliance supports the idea that we need to electrify everything. By shifting sectors that have been historically powered by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as heating and transportation, to electricity, we can dramatically reduce emissions in the short-term while setting up a path to a net zero-carbon society in the long-term.
We are pleased to release the second edition of our “Green Municipal Aggregation in Massachusetts” status report. A lot has happened in the field since our first edition in the spring of 2018 necessitating this update. If there is one key takeaway, it’s that GMA has proven to be a way to bring more renewable energy to communities affordably and equitably.