Working with the ISO to Integrate Renewable Energy in New England

Sep 15, 2014 at 12:33pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The ISO is the organization that operates the New England-wide electricity grid and runs New England’s wholesale electricity markets. You can read more about what the ISO is, and why CLF works on ISO committees and working groups. I have written before about CLF’s work with the ISO. You can read those prior blog posts here, here, and here. As I have said before, CLF is one of the very few environmental organizations to work with the ISO, and no other environmental organization is as heavily engaged in the ISO as CLF is. A few days ago, I wrote about one of the major criticisms of renewable energy – that it is too expensive – and how changes that CLF is seeing at the ISO are, even now, making that read more…

This Week on TalkingFish.org – September 8-12

Sep 12, 2014 at 3:22pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

September 8 – “Known is a drop. Unknown is an ocean.” – That still-true ancient line, penned by Tamil poet Avvaiyar some two thousand years ago, reminds us all that while it is worth paying attention to what we see, it is often critical not to be seduced by our convictions about what it means. And so it is that recent reports from the Portland waterfront of bountiful cod can neither be ignored nor fully credited. September 12 – Fish Talk in the News – Friday, September 12 – In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, saltwater recreational fishermen ask Congress for greater representation under the Magnuson-Stevens Act; oyster beds on Martha’s Vineyard are temporarily closed; the Maine lobster industry pursues sustainable certification assessment; state fish trawl survey reports read more…

You are a Movie Star

Sep 11, 2014 at 4:06pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Really. You are. Your big break awaits. This is a contest for you. Take out your cell phone. Create a very short video. Inspire viewers to take action to “Button Up” and lower their heating costs and help tackle climate change. The competition runs September 2 to October 19. There is no entry fee. Prizes of up to $300 will be awarded in several categories. For more details go to www.buttonupcontest.org  When you button up your coat, you keep the cold air out and the warmth in. We need to do the same for our homes and other buildings—making them cozier, saving energy dollars, and reducing pollution. Go ahead. Make a splash. Make a movie. Your Oscar awaits.  

The ISO – and How Renewable Energy Can Save Ratepayers Money

Sep 11, 2014 at 10:45am by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Everyone’s heard someone claim that renewable energy is too expensive. This criticism often overlooks one of the most important benefits of renewable energy – not the environmental benefits (which are also very important!) but the price-suppression benefits. CLF is an active participant in the ISO-NE, and, as such, we get to see some of the ways that renewable energy saves ratepayers money – and we sometimes see this in ways that many members of the public do not. ISO-NE stands for “Independent System Operator – New England.” The ISO is a nonprofit corporation, licensed by the federal government, that both operates the New England-wide electricity grid and runs New England’s wholesale electricity markets. In other words, the ISO tells every electricity generator in New England (whether powered by coal, gas, read more…

An Incomplete Guide to the Massachusetts Ballot: If the Question is One, the Answer is NO.

Sep 9, 2014 at 3:48pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

As Massachusetts voters look to the November ballot, they have an opportunity to take a stand for a better, sustainable transportation system by voting No on Question 1. This first of four questions on the ballot would eliminate indexing of the gas tax to inflation, a development that would simply be bad for the environment. To meet the greenhouse gas reductions that science tells us are necessary, we must transform the way we plan for and invest in transportation infrastructure. Transportation is the largest and fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in Massachusetts, responsible for more than a third of emissions in the state. To curb those emissions, we must reduce our reliance on cars by giving people more choices in how to get around. We need a transportation system read more…

Fresh Air Ahead: Transition to Clean Energy Supplies

Sep 8, 2014 at 9:56am by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

It is welcome news that the New England Governors are stepping away from a high-risk gamble with clean air and electric customers’ money. Shrouded in secrecy, the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) undertook efforts that were poised to tax electric customers – including customers in Vermont – to pay for bringing massive new gas pipelines into the region. These pipelines would lock in polluting fossil fuel supplies for decades. The NESCOE efforts are now on indefinite hold. That’s good. The shoddy analysis supporting the plans collapsed after being exposed to the welcome sunlight of public scrutiny. But as the region closes older and dirtier generating facilities – such as coal plants in southern New England, and Vermont Yankee here in Vermont – and as we move transportation and read more…

Calling Governor Patrick: Hold the Line Against Dirty Fuels in Massachusetts!

Sep 4, 2014 at 12:34pm by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Today 15 environmental organizations, including CLF, submitted this letter to Governor Deval Patrick. The letter calls on Governor Patrick to step up and take action against the anticipated entry of high-carbon tar sands–derived fuels into the Commonwealth’s fuel supply. Massachusetts has taken some important steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – leadership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the recent Zero Emissions Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, to name a few), but those excellent initiatives could be undermined if high-carbon fuels derived from tar sands enter our fuel supply. A recent report shows that by 2020, these dirty fuels could make up 11.5 to 18 percent of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market – compared to less than 1 percent in 2012. This huge read more…

Video: Take a 90-Second Dive on Cashes Ledge

Aug 27, 2014 at 4:13pm by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Cashes Ledge is a spectacular underwater mountain range unlike anyplace you’ll find on land or sea – it’s one of the most dynamic hotspots of biodiversity in New England and the entire North Atlantic. Now it’s in danger. Cashes Ledge has been protected from the most harmful fishing practices for more than 10 years. But this amazing preserve for fish and ocean wildlife may be just a few months away from having its protected status revoked. We’re not going to let that happen – and you can help by doing just three things: 1. Watch our video. Since we can’t take you to Cashes Ledge, we enlisted National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry, Brown University Biologist Jon Witman, and local fishermen to help bring Cashes to you. 2. If you haven’t read more…

Palmer Renewable Energy gets back their biomass plant building permit

Aug 21, 2014 at 4:33pm by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

CLF has been working in partnership with Michaelann Bewsee and the community-based organization she leads in Springfield, MA – Arise for Social Justice – for the last several years. Michaelann, Arise, and a group of activists who have organized under the name Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield are fighting a biomass power plant that Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE) proposes to build in their community. The air pollution from this proposed plant would harm the health of Springfield residents – who already suffer from rates of childhood asthma and other respiratory conditions at much higher rates than other parts of the state. In the guest blog post below, Michaelann describes the legal challenge that she and other residents of Springfield, as well as the Springfield City Council, have been involved in read more…

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Problems with Natural Gas Pipelines

Aug 13, 2014 at 3:47pm by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Jumping from the frying pan and into the fire is not helpful when it comes to meeting our region’s energy needs. In transitioning away from coal and oil, jumping head first into decades-long commitments to natural gas is proving to be both expensive and dangerous. The exuberance for natural gas is showing some telling tarnish. The high costs to our climate, our communities and our economy are becoming clearer to more people. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently penned a strongly worded opinion piece in the Berkshire Eagle, opposing a new pipeline planned to run through Western Massachusetts. She concluded: Before we sink more money in gas infrastructure, we have an obligation wherever possible to focus our investments on the clean technologies of the future — not the dirty fuels of the read more…

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