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| ||Cape Wind Supporters |
After more than 10 years of unprecedented opposition, dozens of environmental impact reports, a book and a now a movie
, Cape Wind is nearing final approval. Located in Nantucket Sound miles from the nearest shore, Cape Wind proposes to build130 wind turbines that would produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. In average winds, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs.
The saga continued on May 23rd
, when the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) held a public hearing on electric utility NSTAR’s proposal to purchase 27½% of Cape Wind’s power. The hearing, held on Cape Cod, was one of three final opportunities for the public to provide input on the issue.
NStar estimates that its average residential customer who uses 618 kilowatt-hours per month will pay an additional $1.44 on a monthly bill for Cape Wind's electricity in the first year of operation. The company expects the cost of the project to be offset by Cape Wind's impact on the New England energy market through a mechanism known as price suppression in which the wind farm's zero-cost fuel knocks more expensive power out of the market. The DPU has already approved a very similar contract with the State’s other large utility, National Grid.
Among the project’s strongest supporters are members of IBEW 103, the union that represents electrical workers in the Boston area. They showed up in force to make their voices heard and discuss the many good jobs that the project will bring to the region.
E2 Director Berl Hartman, one of many who spoke in favor of the project, pointed out the huge economic potential for Cape Wind to be the catalyst for the region to become a globally recognized leader in clean offshore wind power. She was quoted in the Cape Cod Times
coverage of the hearing. E2 is also submitting a letter to the DPU in support of the projec
Assuming the DPU approves the contract, the project still must nail down its financing and may face law suits from deep pocketed opponents. Nevertheless Cape Wind has already selected their contractor and expects to begin construction in 2013. The Clock is Ticking on Massachusetts’ Energy Bill
On April 6th
the Massachusetts’ Senate passed S2214, an Act Relative to Competitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth,
which would make much-needed updates to the State’s landmark energy bill, the Green Communities Act (GCA). The GCA is already working to create new jobs and to drive down the costs of energy for consumers, leading to a more sustainable and productive regional economy. But unless action is taken in this session of the legislature, those gains are now in jeopardy, in part due to the very success of the original bill.
Passage of S2214 (or a House equivalent) is needed to keep the state on track to meet its goals for clean and renewable energy.
Passage of the bill is urgently needed for several reasons. For one, the net metering cap in the GCA will be met by projects already in the pipeline. This cap needs to be increased in order to incentivize new investments. In addition, long-term contract provisions of the GCA are about to be fully subscribed. The requirements for utilities need to be increased and extended to ensure that new projects can get the kind of financing that they need in order to proceed. Also, solar developers are being hamstrung by a maze of different property tax requirements across the 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. They need the clarity and predictability that the bill will provide.
The biggest obstacle to passage of the bill appears to be the legislative calendar. The Massachusetts House is currently in the midst of a contentious debate on healthcare, and a jobs bill is apparently next in line for consideration. The Session is scheduled to end on July 31st
, leaving precious little time for the House to pass an energy bill and get it through a conference committee to resolve potential differences with the Senate version.
E2 members Berl Hartman and John Harper met recently with Thomas Hospod, legislative aide for Representative Paul Adams (R- Andover) and Adrian Madaro, chief legislative aid to Representative Carlo Basile (D - East Boston). The team made the case that the bill was needed in order to enable renewable project financing; avoid job cuts and project cancellations; ensure continuation of cost-effective renewable energy; and maintain the path to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. Another meeting is scheduled with a key staff member for Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.
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| || Andy Stevenson |
Cocurrent BioEnergy LLC
After a 20 year career as an investment banker and portfolio manager for two multi-billion dollar hedge funds, Andy decided it was time to get finally get a real job and joined NRDC’s Center for Market Innovation in New York as a Finance Advisor.
Andy always felt that a strong financial argument could be made that investment in environmental solutions offer better total returns than any fund manager ever can hope to achieve in the marketplace. At NRDC, Andy spent three years making that case to investors, legislators, utility executives, and the media in support of NRDC’s efforts to pass climate, clean air, and clean energy legislation.
Since leaving NRDC in 2010, Andy has continued to help educate NRDC staffers on energy issues, notably on the direction of global energy investments and the impact environmental legislation is having on the retirement schedule of our aging power fleet. As Andy says, “these environmental issues, which are effecting trillions of dollars of investment in new resources and billions of dollars of investment in environmental equipment, are critical areas to engage in if we are to meaningfully reduce our GHG emissions”. Andy is cautious to note however, that “this strategy will only work if the environmental community can stay ahead of the investment curve, as once investments become large enough in one direction they become very difficult to slow down.”
The environmental education Andy received at NRDC has helped shape his role as Chairman of Cocurrent BioEnergy LLC, a start-up waste gasification to energy company with offices in New York. Indeed it was during the time Andy spent at NRDC that he began to appreciate the global need for distributed low carbon, low cost energy solutions and the economic opportunity available to companies able to fill this growing need.
Andy is excited about joining E2 and hopes to be able to bring the skills he developed at NRDC to work on E2’s behalf in DC and at the state level as well. “We manufacture the bulk of our gasification equipment in Pennsylvania and hope that our efforts to grow our business there will help demonstrate that the US is still able to win the clean race” Andy says.
Contact Andy here.
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| || Irene Stillings |
Irene M. Stillings
Executive Director Emeritus
California Center for Sustainable Energy
“My interest in conservation and environmental issues started way back when I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Through my entire career I have always tried to weave concerns for the environment, a respect for nature, and a wise use of resources, into everything that I do. I have been in business: I have owned my own business, I have worked for a large corporation, and have always believed that business has a responsibility to be a community citizen whether it’s small or large business. You take care of your customer and give good customer service, and part of that service is doing everything you can to protect the environment in which we all live.” Consistently combining business and the environment has made Irene a perfect match for E2.
She has brought this philosophy to various executive positions at New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (an investor-owned utility), ConneXt, Inc. (providing software to utilities) and Navigant Consulting, inc. (a multinational firm) over the past 35 years, and continues to do so as the owner of imsMENTOR, a consulting firm focusing on enhancing individual and organizational effectiveness. Currently, as Executive Director of the nonprofit California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE – formerly San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO)), an organization whose vision is a clean environment, excellent air quality, a growing economy, new green jobs and empowered citizens, Irene identifies current, critical energy-related community issues and makes a positive impact through environmental education, outreach, programs, rebates and services.
E2 has offered Irene the opportunity to maximize use of her time and network with like-minded business people who are trying to solve the same challenges she faces. “Leveraging what E2 allows us to do makes me much more effective. Sometimes it is very frustrating how difficult it is to convince business people of the triple bottom line [financial, environmental, and social costs and benefits] and how important it is. With E2, it’s refreshing, it’s relaxing, it’s enjoyable to be able to sit and talk with people who think like you do.”
Irene is most concerned with energy and water issues, and sees them as crucial in solving the next generation’s problems. “I have nine grandchildren and I worry very much about the world we are leaving them, and I think that has driven a lot of my activities.”
Irene’s passion for water issues also extends into oceans, where she spends a good deal of her time SCUBA diving. In fact she has been diving for 43 years. Her favorite locations include Fiji and the Galapagos. Her most interesting dive though? The Caribbean, where she was on a dive boat with world-renowned diver, Jacques Cousteau!
Contact Irene here.
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