About us

We’re an informal group of people in north-central Massachusetts who are concerned about issues relating to energy use. More...

To contact us by email:
info[at]
northquabbinenergy.org

Continuing Work Toward a Clean Energy Future — Town Solar Open Houses Set

Warwick “Solar Sunday” Open Houses Set For June 5, 2016

Residents of Warwick have graciously agreed to participate in an “Open - Solar – House”  self-tour.  The homeowners will be available to answer questions about their solar-electric (PV) systems.  Take advantage of this great opportunity to see the real deal and get the scoop on what it is like to “Go Solar.”

See schedule with addresses and times – Warwick Solar Sunday Schedule.  For more information about getting solar (PV) for your home see HOME SOLAR IS READY FOR YOU and Home Solar (PV) Facts.

Northfield Solar Open Houses — June 25-26, 2016.

Watch for upcoming schedule for Northfield.

 

Other News  — Latest on Kinder Morgan NED Project — Solar Open Houses and other activities  all being planned as Kinder Morgan/TGP filed a withdrawal of their application with FERC on May 23, 2016.  See

TGP Kinder Morgan Withdraws Proposal May2016  

See Upcoming Events for May and June plus Actions to Take Now!

State Legislature and Energy Bills  -  The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy released a large energy bill today. It contains language re: offshore wind and hydropower, and omits language on gas. That is a huge step forward from prior language being thrown around in the legislature!

 

Working Toward a Clean Energy Future for Massachusetts in 2016 and Beyond…

Local Citizens Launch “Choose Solar Initiative” in Orange, Warwick and Wendell

Several local citizens in area towns formed a working group to start a “Choose Solar Initiative” to inform people of the benefits of buying a home solar system now.  This effort was recently launched at an information meeting on homeowner solar electricity (PV) where people learned about the benefits of investing in solar now and taking advantage of tax incentives and a new state solar loan program.

People learned about the benefits of owning solar electricity for their homes from the Solar Store, Northeast Solar and PV Squared recently in Warwick.  This was the first information session of the Choose Solar Initiative.

 

John Child of PV Squared presents information on home solar installations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about the Choose Solar Initiative and buying rather than leasing a solar system see

MASS POWER FORWARD Coalition and others lobby for Meaningful Energy Bill in Massachusetts

Both North Quabbin Energy and North Quabbin Pipeline Action are part of this coalition working toward a clean energy future in the state.   This includes working with the state legislature in hopes of including the following in the Omnibus Energy Bill scheduled to be released soon.

  • 20% Solar PV by 2025
  • Eliminate Net Metering caps
  • Full retail Net Metering credits for community shared solar, low income and municipal projects
  • No Pipeline Tax/Tariff to help pay for new large gas pipelines
  • Support meaningful (2000MW)  offshore wind development
  • Ensure consumer and environmental protections for hydro-power brought into the state
  • Include more energy conservation and energy efficiency programs in energy bill
  • Build up a diversified array of sources for generating electricity including solar, wind, hydro, and energy efficiency to help the state lessen their carbon footprint instead of using over 50% gas (a fossil fuel) to generated electricity.

All these components for a good energy policy in the state seem important if we are to be able to organize on a local level and move toward the goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 25% by 2020.  For immediate actions you can take see Actions.

Hearing Set for Clean Energy and Renewable Future — Get on the Bus to Attend Hearing on May 3!

 

Boston Statehouse Rally for a Renewable Future and No More Pipelines

Come to the Boston Statehouse to Celebrate and Rally for a Renewable Future and No More Pipelines

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change Hearing: Commonwealth’s Clean Energy Future

We seem to have won a great victory on the NED pipeline – and it’s time to celebrate. It’s also a time to build on our strength to win more! We need to stop all pipeline expansions. We must stop the pipeline tax. And we must get our legislators to support smart, renewable energy and climate legislation to reduce emissions and support clean, renewable energy!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
11:30 Rally, Celebration & Pizza at the State House Steps
12:00 Training/Opportunities to Visit Legislative Offices
and Push Hard on the Pipeline Tax
1:00 Global Warming Committee Hearing, State House Rm. 428

One or more buses to Boston are available on a sliding scale from $5 to $30. For details and to sign up for a bus, send an email to masspowerforward@toxicsaction.org.
Please indicate your top three choices ( leaving from/ returning to Pittsfield, Cummington, Greenfield, Orange, Amherst, or Northampton) and we will do our best to  accommodate. Your flexibility is appreciated.

See you at the Statehouse on May 3rd
» Please RSVP to help us plan!

Work to Raise Net Metering Cap on Solar and Stop the NED Pipeline Continues in 2016…

Information about MA Dept. of Public Utilities Hearings and Legislative Work on Energy Bills.

Public Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU) Hearings on Tennessee Gas Petition to Survey on Private Land Begins on March 29th with Greenfield Hearing on March 30. For background information and hearing schedule for all 6 locations see Survey Petition by TGP.

Tennessee Gas Files an Injunction Against Massachusetts — Public Court Hearing on April 15th at 1 p.m. in Pittsfield .    In this case, Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is suing the Commonwealth and its Department of Conservation & Recreation to gain the right of eminent domain to access land in Otis State Forest for the Connecticut Expansion pipeline project.

See Article 97 of MA Constitution for information Otis State Forest in Sandisfield — Guidelines for court hearing remain the same.  Watch for information about possible rally across from courthouse building.


Important Note on National Grid, Eversource Petitions to DPU –  Deadlines Set for Written Testimony –
National Grid – DPU Dockets 16-05, 16-07 — Deadline for Written Comments is May 11, 2016
• Eversource – DPU Docket 15-181  — Deadline for Written Comments is May 23, 2016  Please submit written comments to the hearing officer identified in the respective notice, and also please copy dpu.efiling@state.ma.us on your email. ALSO, send a hard copy of any comments to Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, Boston, Massachusetts 02110.  For information on hearings and background on petitions see Tariff on Electricity Bills.

***********************************************************************************************

For information on latest developments on the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP NED gas pipeline projects and filings with the MA Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU) and National Grid’s proposal to DPU for a tariff see Info Sheet Update2 Feb2016 and Info DPUHearing Sched Feb2016 2

For Events and Activities for March 2016 go to EVENTS

Information about the need to continue contacting legislators about the net metering cap on solar projects and the current bill now in a legislative conference committee is at

https://toxicsaction.webaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14062

Conserve -- Use Less! Hundreds join MLK Walk to Stop the Pipeline. Walk covered 34 miles from Northfield to Plainfield, MA during Martin Luther King week-end in mid-January.

Regional Groups File Motions to Intervene with FERC in Fight to Stop NED Pipeline

Several regional groups have filed motions to intervene with FERC.  Intervening helps citizens’ groups and individuals keep their options open in future dealings and FERC hearings on the proposed Tennessee Gas NED Pipeline Project.

North Quabbin Pipeline Action filed a motion to intervene just before Christmas.  This letter to FERC states that NQPA opposes the NED project because it is not needed and encourages more use of fossil fuels instead of working toward meeting the goals set forth in the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Action.  This law passed in 2008 calls for the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.  Other groups in this region filing motions to intervene with FERC include North Quabbin Energy, Warwick Town Energy and Building Committee, Millers River Watershed Council, Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust, several towns and other groups.  Individuals are encouraged to write short motions to intervene.  See information under events.

FERC extended deadline for filing motions to intervene regarding Tennessee Gas Northeast Energy Direct (NED) proposal - Docket #CP16-21 until January 15th.  This happened on Monday, Jan. 4th after e-filing portal of FERC was shut down for 4 days over New Year’s week-end and four days over Christmas week-end.  People emailed and called FERC, elected officials and other government officials protesting this unfair shutdown.  It is important individuals and groups file motions to intervene now.  See Intervening at FERC Directions  for step-by-step information on how to file a motion (thanks to NoFrackedGasinMass and others for this information.   Also see  EVENTS.

People Speak Out on Climate Crisis, Sustainable Energy and Protecting the Earth

Views of North Quabbin March for the Earth – Nov. 29th

People from many small towns in the region came together and joined with thousands participating in events  around the world before the Climate Talks in Paris (11/30-12/11/2015)

As the Paris Climate Summit  (Nov. 30-Dec. 11) approaches, we all must step up and raise our voices.  On the eve of the biggest U.N. climate talks of the decade, we’re taking to the streets — all around the world.  With news from Paris that security will prohibit many of the Paris mobilizations and events from happening this means all people must make their voices heard around the world and be louder everywhere.  Join with people from around the North Quabbin and other places on Sunday, Nov. 29th from 1-2 p.m. at the Uptown Common in Athol for a short march, speakers and music.

No. Quabbin Global March for the Earth

No. Quabbin Global March for the Earth

Other Local and Regional Events

Winsert Making Workshops (interior storms) took place in both Orange and Royalston during November.  North Quabbin Energy and town energy committees in Orange and Royalston helped town residents build winserts for the Water Department Building in Orange and the Town Hall in Royalston.  These interior inexpensive winserts help increase the R-value of windows and cut down on heating costs.   See winsert page for information on using the “wrap method” to make winserts.

Public Lands Protected by Article 97 in Massachusetts  — Close to 20 people from the North Quabbin area were among the almost 150 people from across the state who attended a hearing in Boston recently on Article 97 and the proposed pipeline.

Alan Berman and Betsy Alkins (Warwick) were among many who attended Nov. 10 hearing at Boston State House.

People from across the state attended to give testimony to uphold Article 97 and keep Otis State Forest land from being taken out of Article 97 protection for a proposed gas pipeline running into Connecticut — another Kinder Morgan/TGP proposal.

Other News on Kinder Morgan/TGP proposed pipeline – Northeast Energy Direct Project — On Nov. 20, FERC posted the formal application submitted to them by Tennessee Gas Pipeline.  In the application Tennessee Gas makes the following comment about Article 97:   “Tennessee anticipates that it will seek Article 97 authorization from the Massachusetts legislature to obtain easement rights on lands that promote conservation purposes and that are owned by the Commonwealth  or  by a town or city.” (Nov. 20, 2015 application by Tennessee Gas Pipeline to FERC, Attachment A – Scoping Summary Matrix Responses, p. 40.).  For a listing of all sections of the application go to www.nofrackedgasinmass.org 

Solar Legislation — No Bill was passed by the MA State Legislature so works on this continues.

 

Acting Locally and Regionally on Energy Issues

Both North Quabbin Energy and North Quabbin Pipeline Action continue to plan events to educate people about energy conservation and efficiency as well as working to stop the proposed gas pipeline.

In the area of energy conservation, winsert making workshops are alive and well.  North Quabbin Energy along with town energy committees will co-ordinate two workshops in November – one on Nov. 7th at the Royalston Town Hall and the other on Nov. 14th at the Orange Armory. For information about these workshops see events and for instructions on how to make inexpensive interior storms (winserts) see Winserts – the Wrap Method.

People from the North Quabbin area also attended recent hearings at the State House in Boston.  These hearings before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy considered several energy bills. People working on these issues hope that the net metering cap affecting solar development projects in National Grid territory will be lifted this fall, and that a favorable energy bill will be passed by the State Legislature.

North Quabbin Pipeline Action had a presence at the Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange recently.  People staffed a table and got over 100 people to sign and write short letters to State Senators asking them to commit to upholding Article 97 of the State Constitution – an article pertaining to protected public lands in the state (see Resources and Research).  See Events for more information about upcoming activities.

Watch for Local Actions on Nov. 29th — Week-end of Climate Action on Road to Paris –  Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground.  See http://350.org/roadthroughparis/  –  “This huge weekend of action is being dubbed the Global Climate March, and a lot of organizations will be taking part. There will be a big march in Paris with hundreds of thousands of people, as well as key marches on every continent. Here in the U.S. it will be a holiday weekend, so we’re anticipating that many events will be a bit smaller. We’re still fired up to add our voices to the global call for action though, and we hope that you are too.”

 

Energy Bills Stall in State Legislature and Proposed KM Pipeline Moves Forward

Energy Bills in MA Legislature — As August ends it is still unclear what energy bills will be considered by the State Legislature this Fall.  It is important to keep contacting state officials and legislators about the Net Metering Cap.  Before the Legislature recessed for August,  Senator Rosenberg’s office reported that nothing could be done until this fall.  It is still unclear  if any energy bills will be considered this Fall.  Meanwhile there is a cap on large solar developments and community solar in National Grid territory which includes 171 communities in Massachusetts.  Continue calling legislators and Governor Baker asking them to lift the Net Metering cap (contacts for government officials).

On the proposed KM/TGP gas pipeline FERC is continuing to take comments for a couple of weeks in September on concerns pertaining to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for PF14-22.

For September Activities  see Events under Gas Pipeline.

Announcing the latest edition of our local food brochure

It’s here! The 2015-16 edition of our North Quabbin local food guide is now available. You can access a digital version by clicking here, or look for it at local outlets (stores, libraries, retail farmstands, and related venues) over the next few weeks. Continue reading Announcing the latest edition of our local food brochure

State Energy Policy – Renewables and Fossil Fuel Debate Heats Up

July 2015   Actions  Concerning Solar and Net Metering in MA  — Write Governor Baker and State Legislators in July to call for lifting the Net Metering Cap on Solar and call a halt to new gas pipeline infrastructure – See Actions to Take.

Defending Renewable Energy, Solar and Community Shared Solar through Legislation: On June 2, 2015 at the Statehouse in Boston the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy will be holding a public hearing   starting at 1:00 P. M. in Gardner Auditorium on bills related to solar energy and net metering.  For more details and the bills that will be covered in this hearing see Solar Hearings June 2015

Berkshire Gas asks for more fossil fuels/gas in the future:  On June 11, 2015 the MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will hold a hearing at the Greenfield Middle School in Greenfield on a petition by Berkshire Gas to sign a contract with Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s NED project to receive 36,000 dekatherms per day of gas through the proposed Kinder Morgan/TGP NED project.  This and other petitions to the DPU help set up continuing use of fossils fuels (natural gas) well into the future.  See Docket 15-48  -  DPU (http://web1.env.state.ma.us/DPU/FileRoom/dockets/bynumber).  Enter 15-48 in DPU dockets by number to see comments and original Berkshire Gas petition.

See Events for details and more events.