Wind is blowing up in the Commonwealth! A report from Environment Massachusetts shows that offshore wind could help power the state’s electricity needs 19 times over – and major generators are already working to make it happen. Among them is ML Strategies client Deepwater Wind, which has identified New Bedford, Fall River and Somerset as possible sites where it will assemble wind turbine foundations for its Revolution Wind project.
This month we are excited to highlight our client NBD Nanotechnologies! The Boston-based innovator recently secured an $8 million Series B financing to further grow its business while continuing to innovate within its proprietary platform focused on specialty chemical products that change the surface properties of materials like glass and plastic.
On April 12, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Energy Budget” with testimony from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. The wide-ranging discussion covered the Administration’s request for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which would see a 70% reduction from Fiscal Year 2018; the Yucca Mountain project and legacy cleanup responsibilities; pipeline safety; encouraging innovation in the private sector; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; resiliency in the electric grid; fusion energy research; cybersecurity infrastructure; fuel security; and Small Refinery Waivers.
For all the publicity generated by the recent increase in value of Bitcoin, as well as the generally increasing awareness of the existence of blockchain technology, Greentech Media’s recent Blockchain in Energy Forum 2018 held in New York City demonstrated that the technology is incredibly young and all stakeholders—utilities, regulators, entrepreneurs, consumers and investors—are still struggling with the ultimate impact of distributed ledger systems. The promise of blockchain as a decentralized, verifiable and immutable database with the scalability to displace existing record-keeping systems is as of yet unfulfilled, but not for lack of effort. The wide variety of issues covered in the day’s panels demonstrate the fundamental debates stockholder are still having. The touchstone questions to which panelists came again and again were “What problem is this solution supposed to solve?” and “Why does blockchain solve it better than any other solution?” Definitive answers to both questions remain elusive.
Most expect blockchain technology to be the foundation of the future transactive energy grid in which power generated by distributed energy resources on a scale ranging residential rooftop solar to traditional generating stations is bought and sold in a marketplace, matching production with demand efficiently in real-time. Our traditional hub-and-spoke model of electrical generation and transmission is evolving to one of widely distributed generation. This new marketplace will require the settlement of an incredible number of transactions every second. Some estimates have pegged the minimum rate of transactions to be settled for a country such as Germany at 260,000 per second in this future grid. As a means of comparison, the blockchain behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin can only process 5 transactions per second – that of Ethereum, another well-known cryptocurrency, can handle approximately 15 transactions per second. For the transactive grid to come to fruition, much progress remains to be made.
Efforts are underway. The Energy Web Foundation, an off-shoot of The Rocky Mountain Institute, the nonprofit energy research and consulting group, has begun developing its own blockchain engineered specifically for use within the energy space named the Energy Web Platform. Presently even this best attempt at an energy-specific blockchain can handle only 750 transactions per second. Further technical issues abound. Governance and best practices concerning the protocols pursuant to which major changes to the structure of the blockchain are implemented remain a topic of hot debate, as do the measures of verifying transactions on the blockchain. With basic issues such as these still in flux, it is not surprising that a real world manifestation of a fully-functioning blockchain application has remained elusive in the energy industry.
The world is changing! Over the last several years, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria have been an emerging focus in the investing world, primarily driven by equity investors where it can be harder for a company raising funds to correlate capital costs with ESG impact. Last month, multinational food-products giant Danone Group and its bank group, led by BNP Paribas, redefined the ESG landscape with a credit facility that is said to directly link borrowing rates to “verified positive impact on the word.”
Analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that roughly 18% of U.S. energy generation is supplied by renewable sources. The details can be found in the 2018 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, Bloomberg’s dive into the country’s energy mix and evaluation of how various renewable energy industries are faring.
On February 7, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts has installed more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity through 78,646 projects across the state. The achievement represents the culmination of various projects that make Massachusetts a leader in clean energy and energy efficiency and help the Commonwealth meet greenhouse gas reduction requirements set out by the Global Warming Solutions Act.
After releasing a request for proposals in March 2017 seeking long-term contracts for clean energy projects, on January 25 the Baker-Polito administration selected the Northern Pass Hydro (Northern Pass) project to move forward to contract negotiations with Massachusetts’ electric distribution companies in an effort to bring over 1,000 megawatts of electricity to the Commonwealth. Less than a week later, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee defeated those plans, voting unanimously to deny a certificate to Eversource Energy, the utility responsible for developing the project. Now, the administration is giving Northern Pass a second chance to gain approval from New Hampshire regulators, but they have chosen a “back-up” project should Northern Pass fail once more.
In this four-part series, we revisit 2017’s biggest developments in Energy & Sustainability-related news, milestones, policy changes, and financial transactions. This is the fourth installment of the series. Click to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Continue Reading Energy & Sustainability 2017 Year in Review: Notable Deals and Financial Activities (Part 4 of 4)
In this four-part series, we revisit 2017’s biggest developments in Energy & Sustainability-related news, milestones, policy changes, and financial transactions. This is the third installment of the series. Click to read Part 1 and Part 2.