At a recent clean energy event in Boston, Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan were joined by the Boston Bruins' defenseman Andrew Ference. Check out the video below to see behind the scenes footage from the day.
What’s going on? The main driver of declining costs is that natural gas prices are at historic lows because large deposits of natural gas have been discovered and retrieved with new methods. With so much natural gas flooding the market, prices drop.
In New England, about 50 percent of electricity is created by natural gas fueled power plants, so when natural gas prices drop, so do electricity prices. In 2006, natural gas prices peaked at about $10 per million cubic foot, and the average household monthly electric bill was about $150. Today, gas is at about $2-$3 per million cubic foot, and the average household monthly electric bill is about $112. That’s a drop of about 25 percent! This means, that in the last year, Massachusetts ratepayers – residential, commercial, industrial – have saved about $900 million dollars!
There is another reason that your electric bill may be lower – the state’s nation-leading energy efficiency programs. If you are one of the hundreds-of-thousands of residential or business customers that have taken advantage of rebates to do energy efficiency projects, you’ve probably seen significant savings on your bills. And even if you haven’t directly participated in energy efficiency programs, everyone’s bills may also be lower because, overall, less energy is being used than would have been without the energy efficiency programs and that depresses prices.
There is a lot of climate science research going on at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
Researchers at the Climate System Research Center (CSC) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst are studying the changes in global climate and how best to deal with these challenges. The facility recently received a $7.5 million dollar grant from the federal government to continue and expand this work. At CSC, graduate students, post-docs, university faculty and scientists collaborate on studies that involve glaciological and meteorological observations, recovery and analysis of paleoclimatic archives, and climate scenario modeling. These are worth looking up in the dictionary!
The earth’s climate is undergoing rapid changes due to a period of natural climatic shift that is amplified exponentially by our own pollution. At a Boston unveiling of another climate center housed at UMass-Amherst, the Northeast Climate Science Center(NECSC), Richard Palmer, Department Head Civil and Environmental Engineering, noted that just this year the Commonwealth has suffered from weather troubles including disastrous flooding, an early snowfall on fully-leafed trees, a tornado, and an earthquake. The NECSC accepts the inevitability of increased variability and severity in weather, a shift in the seasons, and a rise in sea level, and will use its information, tools and techniques to best forecast and manage these events.
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who attended the NECSC launch, noted the extent to which this facility of innovation and research can impact the Commonwealth. The Climate Science Center will be one of eight in the country, but serves the largest region with the most people. What is learned at and shared by the Center will inform Massachusetts as it works toward its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
Interested in climate change and the work being done at the Northeast Climate Science Center? Check out this video below.
Last week I visited a clean energy company in Boston with Governor Patrick who delivered a rousing speech about Massachusetts' leadership on clean energy and outlined an ambitious energy agenda. Speaking to an audience of more than 200 business leaders at Fast Cap Systems, the Governor talked about the state's clean energy accomplishments and why they're important. Check out the video of the Governor's speech below. You can also view the text from the Governor's speech online.