May 27, 2010 - TransCanada sues Massachusetts over local aspect of renewable portfolio standard

Thursday, May 27, 2010

In Massachusetts: TransCanada has sued the Commonwealth (and named officials) over the Green Communities Act. Specifically, TransCanada is asserting that the statute's requirement that utilities enter into long-term contracts to buy power from Massachusetts generators including local solar PV projects is unconstitutional. TransCanada claims that this discrimination against out-of-state renewable energy producers not only violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, but results in higher prices to ratepayers. The New England Power Generators Association agrees that it is illogical to insist that clean energy originate locally, given our regional transmission grid and unpredictable electron flows.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is trying to negotiate a settlement with TransCanada.

Interestingly, TransCanada is challenging the Green Communities Act: the same statutory framework into which the Cape Wind contract with National Grid fits.

Are electrons a fungible commodity? Are the electrons produced by a renewable project inherently more valuable than electrons produced by (for example) coal-fired generation? Even if they are, doesn't the great mixing bowl that is the transmission grid eliminate any uniqueness those renewable electrons had? Is there any real meaning to the kind of financial (contractual) fictions that Consumer A is buying Generator B's renewable electrons?

Weather news: NOAA predicts an "active" to "extremely active" hurricane season this year, with between 14 and 23 named storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

BP's top kill of the Deepwater Horizon oil well appears to have worked.

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