The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

The Energy Consumer's Bulletin

Energy More Affordable Now than Ever, Greener Too

Posted by Larry Chretien on Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 01:07 PM

Americans are now spending less on energy as a percentage of income than ever recorded. That’s a finding from a recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. On average, consumers spend just four percent of their incomes on electricity, heat, and transportation. This statistic is a clear pushback against those who would say that “we cannot afford clean energy.” It also points out that our economy has changed over the years in such a way that we don’t need to burn as much stuff in order to make a living.

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Tags: renewable energy, energy efficiency

Electric Vehicles as a Public Health Tool

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 @ 04:02 PM

We talk a lot about the need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to fight climate change. We run programs and support policies in an effort meet our states' greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals: in Massachusetts, the statutory requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act, in Rhode Island, the Resilient Rhode Island Act. With our climate going haywire (see the record-setting droughts, floods, and heat waves of 2016) and the emissions reductions of electric vehicles, climate change is one of the reasons we launched Drive Green with Mass Energy and People's Power & Light. But, setting climate change aside for a moment (a big ask, we know), replacing internal combustion engines on our roads with electric vehicles should still be a state priority. Why?

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Tags: electric vehicles

"Smart Cities" discussion in Boston

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

We’re excited for the US Green Building Council, Massachusetts Chapter’s upcoming event on February 16th – the Building Tech Forum – and we hope to see some of you there too!

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Tags: events, Massachusetts

Labs of Democracy: the State's Role in Energy Policy

Posted by Larry Chretien on Monday, February 06, 2017 @ 02:28 PM

In a 1932 Supreme Court decision Judge Louis Brandeis famously wrote in a dissenting opinion, “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

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Tags: renewable energy, environmental policy, electric vehicles, energy efficiency

Trump, Tillerson, and Putin

Posted by Larry Chretien on Monday, January 23, 2017 @ 12:28 PM

There’s a bromance going on between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. It’s bizarre and has all kinds of serious implications for national security, foreign policy, human rights, and more. The focus of this blog is about how their shared agenda would have us relapse into a deeper addiction to petroleum.

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Tags: oil import, oil market, foreign oil, environmental policy, world news

Getting the Sulfur Out of Heating Oil – A Win-Win for Consumers and the Environment

Posted by Phil Lindsey & Loie Hayes on Friday, January 20, 2017 @ 06:40 PM

For decades, the federal Clean Air Act has caused sulfur levels in electricity-generating gasoline and oil to fall dramatically. The results have been enormous. According to one study, the benefits of EPA regulations on sulfur (and nitrogen) have exceeded costs by 30 to 1. Most of these benefits have to do with public health.

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Tags: heating oil, oil market, environmental policy, biodiesel

Emissions from Electric Cars Will Decrease Every Year – Isn’t that Cool? Here’s how.

Posted by Larry Chretien & Katy Kidwell on Monday, January 16, 2017 @ 03:27 PM

Before we get into how electric cars can run on sunshine and wind power, let’s talk about old-fashioned cars that run only on gasoline engines. Some good news is that because of federal fuel efficiency standards (known as Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency), cars in 2025 will be much more efficient, on average, than today. Officially, carmakers will have to meet a standard of 54.5 miles on average for passenger cars and light trucks in 2025, which is about what a Toyota Prius (the version that does not plug-in) gets today. If we focus on emissions of carbon dioxide, the average new non-electric car in 2030 will emit about 182 grams per mile, down from 248 grams in 2017. That’s a nice reduction in carbon emissions of about a third.

The bad news is that we need to do much better. Don’t despair, because we have more good news. We can do much better, by adopting electric vehicles, whether they are plug-in hybrids (like the Chevy Volt or Prius Prime (which does plug-in) or all-electric battery powered (like a Tesla, the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt).

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Tags: electric vehicles

Mid-Winter Heating Oil Price Update

Posted by Phil Lindsay on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 @ 05:44 PM

After last winter’s relative warmth and Mass Energy/PP&L prices mostly under $2 per gallon, this year we’re experiencing colder weather and somewhat higher prices. Both the colder weather and today’s prices are still lower than ‘normal’ by historical standards. Here’s our take on what we see happening in the oil markets.

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Tags: heating oil, oil market

New websites in MA & RI help you decode competitive electricity supply offers

Posted by Loie Hayes on Friday, January 06, 2017 @ 02:32 PM

One of our members called recently asking for help finding information on competitive electric suppliers, the electricity supply companies that often claim to offer cheaper rates – and sometimes greener powerthan the Basic Service offered by her electric utilitiy. More than likely, you’ve also received a knock on the door or something in the mail from competitive suppliers. So many suppliers had contacted our member that she felt she should find out what they were offering. She was particularly interested in renewable electricity options, but didn’t know who to trust.

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Tags: renewable energy, electricity, competitive suppliers

Community-Scale Wind power: A Case Study for the Holidays

Posted by Loie Hayes on Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 12:45 PM

The 600-kilowatt wind turbine at Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School is one of the wind turbines in our green power portfolio. The driving force behind the project was Mary E. Riordan, the school’s former biology teacher and headmaster, and now its Director of Institutional Advancement. According to Kevin Schulte of Sustainable Energy Developments Inc., who consulted on the development of this and many other turbine installations, “For a project to succeed, it needs a real champion; for the Holy Name wind turbine project, that champion is Mary Riordan.”

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Tags: renewable energy, community organizing, Massachusetts

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