Science & Environment
12:58 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Three Trends in New England's Energy Market

Brayton Point, the largest fossil-fuel-powered energy generator in New England, is slated to close in 2017.
Brayton Point, the largest fossil-fuel-powered energy generator in New England, is slated to close in 2017.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

New England's energy supply is in flux. Here are three examples.

New England's energy market is undergoing a remarkable transition. Since 2010, the portion of energy generated with oil and coal has dropped from forty percent to less than five percent. Natural gas has stepped in to fill the gap, now accounting for more than half of power production. Massachusetts is also pushing for rapid expansion of renewable energy production, and nuclear power plants (which have provided approximately a third of energy) are struggling with public safety concerns and a difficult financial situation.

Three recent stories from EcoRInews highlight additional changes underway:

  1. The tar sands are coming ... So far, nearly natural gas used in New England comes from domestic fracking, but increasing concern about limited and unreliable supply from those sources has led to calls for more pipelines. And that could mean tar sands.
  2. Falling water, falling prices? A bill pending in the Massachusetts House of Representatives would fast-track contracts bringing in Canadian hydropower at prices competitive with natural gas. Rhode Island has already passed such legislation. Critics of the Massachusetts bill say that a rapid influx of hydropower could destabilize New England's energy market.
  3. Not making waves ... New England has plenty of hydropower potential in the form of ocean energy, but development of wave energy seems to have stalled, due to a lack of financial and policy support.
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