Green Massachusetts turns to coal and Russian gas to make it through winter

by WorldTribune Staff, March 14, 2018

Environmentally progressive Massachusetts, which closed its last coal-fired power plant last year, has had to rely on coal as well as natural gas imports from a Russian firm that was sanctioned by the Obama administration to make it through what has been a brutal winter.

Pedestrians walk past rows of snow-covered cars on Marginal Street in Boston on March 14. The area was hit with it’s third nor’easter of the month on March 13. / AP

Massachusetts and New Hampshire blocked financing in 2016 for the $3 billion Access Northeast Pipeline, “which would have helped the state weather an energy crunch this winter,” energy reporter Chris White noted in a March 13 dispatch for The Daily Caller.

Lack of a pipeline infrastructure strained the Massachusetts energy grid and forced the state to turn to coal production, which caused energy prices to rise amid skyrocketing demand in frigid December and January, the report said.

In 2016, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey insisted that “no new pipelines are needed” and that the state could “maintain electric reliability through 2030 even without additional new natural gas pipelines.”

Additionally, the state’s “decision to rely principally on green energy hiked gas prices and forced it turn to Russian oil imports,” White’s report said.

Boston received a shipment of natural gas from an export terminal owned by Novatek – one of the Russian energy giants sanctioned by the Obama administration in 2014.

Meanwhile, “Coal accounted for more than 40 percent of the electricity makeup delivered this winter on the PJM Interconnection,” according to White’s report.

PJM is the regional transmission organization responsible for delivering energy to more than 50 million people, said the group’s president and CEO, Andrew Ott.

“We could not have served customers without the coal-fired resources; that’s the reality,” he said.

PJM burned so much coal, in part, because the price of natural gas skyrocketed during the cold snap, Ott said.

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