PNS Daily Newscast - October 17, 2019 

President Trump puts some distance between himself and policy on Syria. Also on the rundown: awaiting a ruling in South Dakota on the insanity defense, plus the focus remains on election security for 2020.

2020Talks - October 16, 2019 

Last night in Ohio the fourth Democratic debate covered issues from health care, gun control and abortion to the Turkish invasion of Syria. What's clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren has replaced former VP Joe Biden as the centerstage target.

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MA Moves Closer to Harvesting Offshore Wind Power

A 30-Megawatt offshore wind farm, the first in the nation, went into operation off Block Island in 2016. (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
A 30-Megawatt offshore wind farm, the first in the nation, went into operation off Block Island in 2016. (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
May 25, 2018

BOSTON – The Bay State has taken a major step toward construction of the nation's first major offshore wind farm. Vineyard Wind has been selected to construct the project that will generate 800 megawatts of electric power, enough for a half-million homes.

According to Emily Norton, director of the Sierra Club's Massachusetts chapter, the project will help the Commonwealth meet carbon emission reductions mandated by the state's Global Warming Solutions Act. She adds this is just the beginning.

"In the last session the State Legislature required the utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by 2027,” says Norton. “So this is halfway there."

The second solicitation for the next 800 megawatts of power is expected to be released by June 2019, but Norton says the Sierra Club would like to see that happen sooner.

On top of the environmental benefits, Norton notes the project will give a big boost to the state's economy.

"Vineyard Wind estimates that it's 3,600 local full-time-equivalent jobs, $3.7 billion in energy cost savings,” says Norton. “We think it will be a real benefit to ratepayers in terms of not having to worry about the variability of fossil-fuel costs."

She adds there is pending legislation that would further expand procurement requirements for offshore wind that could pass during this legislative session.

The state's Energy Diversity Act also requires procurement of other forms of clean energy, like onshore wind or solar. Norton says with the cost of clean energy falling, new investments in fossil-fuel infrastructure like gas pipelines are becoming much riskier.

"If we spend $6.6 billion to build Access Northeast, for example,” says Norton, “within ten years it would be obsolete because of all the additional clean energy."

This week, Rhode Island also entered into negotiations with another firm, Deepwater Wind, to procure 400 megawatts of offshore power.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - MA