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Governors Want Sunlight On The Secretive ISO New England

Oct 15, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont, center, and on his left Govs. Charlie Baker and Gina Raimondo. They met a year ago to talk about regional cooperation. They are three of the five signatories calling for reforms to ISO New England.
Gov. Ned Lamont's Office

Connecticut and four other New England states fired the first salvo Thursday in a campaign to reform the region’s complex wholesale electric market – and the unaccountable and largely opaque governance of its operator, ISO New England.

Farewells And Bipartisan Votes In A Special House Session

Oct 1, 2020
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz presiding over what was likely his last session day as speaker.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Partisanship took a holiday Wednesday as the House of Representatives confirmed judicial nominations, passed bills and bid farewell to leaders of both parties in its last scheduled meeting before a new legislature takes office in January.

Connecticut Bill Would Invite Competition To Run Energy Efficiency Programs

Sep 22, 2020
Chion Wolf / WNPR

A proposal buried at the end of Connecticut’s so-called “take back our grid” legislation would potentially make utilities compete for control of the energy efficiency programs they’ve operated for more than 20 years. 

And that has some lawmakers and contractors asking: Why?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Eversource has hardly been out of the news since the prolonged restoration of power in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. And the latest headline concerns a $700 million loan the utility says it would like the state to underwrite. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced Monday the state is taking on one of the world’s biggest oil companies, suing ExxonMobil for allegedly lying to consumers about climate change. At a news conference in New Haven, Tong contended the company has known for the past 70 years that its products were contributing to climate change.

Connecticut Weighs Options For Making Electric Vehicle Rebates More Equitable

Sep 14, 2020
Mariordo / Wikimedia Commons

The new board overseeing Connecticut’s electric vehicle rebate program is grappling with how best to restructure the program to incorporate used vehicles and attract more low- to moderate-income purchasers.

Collaborative European Study Offers Hope For Fishing, Offshore Wind Industries

Sep 6, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

In New England, offshore wind developers and the fishing industry continue to grapple with questions over potential impacts on the region’s valuable fisheries.

A recent European study not only offers good news on that front, it also provides a template for how the two industries can work together.

Eversource Says Storm Isaias Criticism 'Not Accurate'

Aug 27, 2020
An Eversource outage map showing the impact of Isaias. Eversource serves 149 of Connecticut’s 169  communities, UI handles 17 and three have municipal power.
CTMirror.org

This story was updated at 4:01 p.m.

Eversource Energy gave skeptical lawmakers a forceful rebuttal Thursday of the widespread complaints that the electric utility failed to prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias – then bungled the restoration of power in Connecticut’s worst blackout in nearly a decade.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says Eversource should be broken up. According to Connecticut’s senior senator, the power company’s failure to get the lights back on quickly statewide after Tropical Storm Isaias was just the latest in the utility’s litany of failures. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The arcane world of energy surcharges dominated a virtual conference call Monday, as hundreds of participants watched a public hearing between Eversource and state regulators. 

At issue was a controversial rate increase implemented shortly before Tropical Storm Isaias knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Eversource customers.

Connecticut Regulator Isn't Interested In Utilities' 'Excuses' On Power Grid Failures

Aug 23, 2020
WINSTED, CT - AUGUST 4, 2020: The power is out in the town of Winsted as the wind and slight rain of Tropical Storm Isaias caused power outages and downed trees on August 4, 2020 in Winsted, Connecticut.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The widespread and prolonged power outages that trailed Tropical Storm Isaias this month have added urgency to what was already a fast and furious effort to begin modernizing Connecticut’s electric grid.

Courtesy: Norwich Public Utilities Facebook

With some in Connecticut just getting their power back one week after Tropical Storm Isaias, a lot of families have wondered aloud whether some other company could do a better job than Eversource and United Illuminating. One man who emphatically answers yes is Joe Courtney, the U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 2nd District. 

Power Outages Stoke Concern Over Possible Uptick In COVID Cases

Aug 9, 2020
Visitors gather to charge their electronic devices at the Westfarms shopping mall in West Hartford. Power outages after Tropical Storm Isaias have caused residents to visit public places where they can charge their devices, despite concern about COVID-19.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

As hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents adjusted to life without power last week, Gov. Ned Lamont praised the state’s COVID-19 statistics, pointing to days without recorded deaths and a low positivity rate among test results.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s now been three days since many Connecticut residents and businesses lost power in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias. And leaders of local municipalities are increasingly frustrated with power companies keeping them in the dark – in more ways than one.

Eversource Was On A Victory Lap. Then Came Isaias

Aug 7, 2020
Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

Eversource Energy’s chairman and chief executive, Jim Judge, was jubilant in a message to shareholders in March. Based on returns to investors and a seeming newfound immunity to protracted blackouts, Judge assured them the company was coming off its “most successful year ever.” 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Utility regulators say they will consider whether civil penalties should be applied if Connecticut’s electric companies are found to have botched the response to Tropical Storm Isaias. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Thursday outlined the scope of its investigation into the response that was requested by Gov. Ned Lamont. 

Tropical Storm Isaias snapped this pole and damaged a transformer on Arlington Road in West Hartford.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

As Connecticut’s utilities struggle to address a million power outages across the state, there’s no official assessment yet as to when they might be able to restore electricity to most homes. And now state regulators have announced an investigation into whether the state’s largest power company, Eversource, underestimated the threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaias.

Isaias ripped through the state Tuesday with wind speeds gusting to 70 mph, felling trees and bringing down power lines in almost every town. 

How Connecticut's Cautious First Step On Shared Solar Turned Into A False Start

Aug 4, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

More than three years after the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) selected three shared solar projects for a small pilot program, only one of those projects is operational.

The other two haven’t even started construction. 

Don McCullough / Creative Commons

The delicate balancing act of anticipating electric demand before and during the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown electricity suppliers, regulators and customers an unwelcome surprise this summer: massive jumps on electric bills. 

Mark Mühlhaus / attenzione

Proposals for large solar facilities routinely come under scrutiny for their potential to cause erosion and runoff, but for property owners who live nearby, concerns about the impact on their home values often loom just as large. 

solar panel
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

If you rent or can’t put solar panels on your roof but you want to support solar energy, you can subscribe to what’s called “shared solar” and get a credit to lower your electric bill. But regulators in Connecticut say the state’s two biggest electric utilities are dragging their feet on developing rules for the program.

In Connecticut, Low-Income Customers Will See Solar Savings Appear On Bills

Feb 18, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Utilities — not solar developers — will be tasked with signing up lower-income customers under final rules for a Connecticut shared solar program.

The model, recently adopted by state regulators, is meant to simplify the subscription process and better protect consumers while improving access to solar savings for low- to moderate-income households.

Connecticut Towns Want Permission To Buy Clean Power On Behalf Of Residents

Feb 15, 2020
Chion Wolf / WNPR

A growing list of Connecticut towns want to play a bigger role in procuring clean energy, but first they need state lawmakers to give them the authority.

Known as community choice aggregation, the model gives local governments the right to buy power on behalf of their residents, enabling them to focus on buying more renewable energy or lowering costs, or both.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

While the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, states like Connecticut are still committed to reducing their carbon emissions. Offshore wind power is one way.

This hour, we take a look at proposals to bring wind energy to Connecticut. How will the Trump administration’s inaction on renewables impact this emerging industry in our region?

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

As Connecticut Releases Electric Vehicle Roadmap, Some Question Its Direction

Oct 31, 2019
Adam Moss / Wikimedia Commons

A long-awaited state report on electric vehicle policy options was released the same week the state also reduced rebates.

The timing couldn’t have been more curious. 

Northeast Heating Oil Industry Looks To Biodiesel To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Oct 1, 2019
Joe Mabel / Creative Commons

The Northeast heating oil industry plans to begin pressing New England states to mandate certain standardized levels of biodiesel content in home heating oil.

At an industry summit in Rhode Island on Sept. 19, member companies of the New England Fuel Institute and related companies voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to work toward a 15% reduction in carbon emissions by 2023, 40% by 2030, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

This story is Part 3 in a series on the future of nuclear power. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

The future of fusion energy is right around the corner. You’ll find it off Massachusetts Avenue, on Albany Street in Cambridge. It’s on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an old, low-rise, brown brick building once owned by Nabisco.

Part 1 in a series on the future of nuclear power. Part 2 is here.

____

Future? In Massachusetts, nuclear power is history.

Connecticut, Rhode Island Vie For Roles In Emerging Offshore Wind Industry

Sep 12, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

When Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation last June authorizing up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind development, the new law signaled big ambitions.

“Connecticut should be the central hub of the offshore wind industry in New England,” Lamont proclaimed at the time. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Governor Ned Lamont signed the third executive order of his administration Tuesday, setting an ambitious environmental goal, a zero carbon energy grid by 2040.

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