energy

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Several governors from New England visited Connecticut on Thursday to talk about regional energy infrastructure challenges. 

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Five of New England's governors met in Hartford on Thursday to speak about energy issues facing the region. At the top of the agenda was the price of electricity.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Five out of six New England governors will meet in Hartford on Thursday for a closed-door energy roundtable. Together, they’ll work on developing a cooperative strategy to address some of the region’s biggest energy challenges. 

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Connecticut motorists are paying about 13 cents a gallon more for gasoline this week than last, according to the weekly survey by AAA.

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Greenhouse gas emissions have risen slightly from last year, according to a new analysis from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the emissions are still down nine percent since 2005.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Large portions of Washington, D.C., were hit by power outages Tuesday, momentarily plunging the White House and other buildings into darkness.

The Pepco utility company says the culprit was a transmission line in southern Maryland that caused "a dip in voltage" shortly before 1 p.m. ET. The power company says there was never a loss of permanent supply of electricity, but the situation caused some customers to move to their backup systems, which is what caused the dip in voltage.

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A bill that would cap charges for electric services paid by residential customers is moving through the Connecticut General Assembly.

The legislature's Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday approved a bill capping the monthly, fixed charge at $10. The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.

Politicians and consumer groups voiced concerns about a recent state decision to increase the fix charges imposed by Eversource Energy from $16 to $19.50. Eversource originally requested a $25.50 charge, saying the revenue is needed to cover the utility's expenses.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is one of just two or three places in the U.S. where stationary fuel cells are made on a large scale. While it's been an important industry here for decades, it's never been profitable. But could that be about to change? 

Backers of a renewable energy bill making its way through the Vermont Legislature say a draft ruling from regulators in Connecticut effectively endorses the Vermont legislation.

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A group representing automotive dealers in Connecticut said it will continue to oppose Tesla selling its cars directly to customers, but if the legislature does decide to move forward with a bill allowing direct sales, car dealers are calling for a two year moratorium on it.

Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

The White House has notified the Senate that President Obama has, as promised, vetoed congressional legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline project.

"Through this bill, the United States Congress attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest," Obama said in the notification to the Senate.

Anyone who has pulled up to a gas station this winter knows oil prices have fallen — down roughly 50 percent since June.

But it's not just oil. Prices for many commodities — grains, metals and other bulk products — have been plunging too.

Here are a few of the changes since many prices peaked in recent years:

- Copper is $2.59 a pound, down from $4.50 in 2011.

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to provide new incentives for solar power in the state. His office is crafting new legislation that would let homeowners trade in renewable energy credits for the first time.

The Vermont Health Department says for the first time it has found the radioactive isotope Strontium-90 in ground water at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon.

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Customers of Connecticut Light and Power, Yankee Gas, and other Northeast Utility brands are getting used to a new name as of Monday. All of NU’s subsidiaries are now Eversource Energy. 

With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gasoline prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

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When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

"It prevents companies like Mercedes and BMW from creating their own stores, so they have to go through a dealership," said Linares, who's no ordinary customer -- he's a state senator for the 33rd District.

Linares wants to change those dealership laws for at least for one company, Tesla, which has a world-wide policy of selling directly to customers. "What we're trying to do here in Connecticut is make an exemption for Tesla to be able to open up their own stores and sell their cars," he said.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Emails and calls are some of the ways Connecticut Light and Power has begun reaching out to its customers ahead of the expected massive snowstorm, mindful of criticism over lengthy outages during past storms. 

ISO-New England

New England's electricity grid operator said natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

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Turns out saving at the pump isn’t great for everyone.

Governor Dannel Malloy will have to order a second round of budget cuts for fiscal year 2015 after the falling price of petroleum has contributed to a $120.9 million deficit, an $89.3 million increase from last month.

Northeast Utilities

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has notified the Millstone Power Station of possible enforcement action following a November 24 inspection that found problems related to unspecified safety issues. 

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts is planning a number of solar power projects that would further reduce the city’s carbon footprint, while providing a new source of revenue.

As soon as this summer, Northampton is likely to join dozens of other municipalities in the state that have turned old landfills into solar farms. And, in what appears to be a first in western Massachusetts at least, solar arrays may pop up at some municipal parking lots, according to Chris Mason, the city’s energy officer.

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Back in 2011, a few things changed for PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Its staff was cut, and it developed a closer relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Some of PURA's budget and its hiring authority shifted over to DEEP, and the move changed the way the board does its main job: reviewing the performance of power companies.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is trying to persuade his fellow OPEC leaders to reduce oil production as the price of crude continues to slide and hurt the Venezuelan economy, which depends on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue.

Maduro was in Qatar this week, seeking billions to shore up his economy.

Noel Hendrickson/Digital Vision / Thinkstock

The price of gas was nearly $4.00 per gallon two years ago. Economists worried the rate would continue to rise, causing financial hardship on those with an already lean budget. What if it went to $5.00 a gallon? Well, those days are long gone.

Gas in Connecticut is around $2.50 a gallon and it's much cheaper elsewhere in the country.

But the higher rate also made people drive less and conserve more, and pushed higher fuel efficiency standards through Congress, nearly doubling the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks by 2025.

Connecticut Science Center

Will a hands-on energy efficiency exhibit aimed at children help them to think about their carbon footprint? 

Northeast Utilities

Northeast Utilities is adopting a new name as part of a rebranding effort. 

The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant entered its final shutdown Monday at 1:03 p.m. The 620-megawatt reactor has been generating electricity for more than 42 years.

NASA's Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen

We know that technology and price can drive electricity demand, but what about culture?

Falling oil prices are perhaps nowhere more welcome than in northern New England, where most homes burn heating oil in their furnaces. But cheaper heating oil is refilling consumers' pockets just as high electric prices are emptying them out.

For example, a heating oil truck delivers 600 gallons of heating oil every two weeks to an old, four-story brick building in Concord, N.H. At last year's oil prices, each refill would have cost around $2,200. Right now, it's more than $300 cheaper.

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