Wind power

Expert Voices

Massachusetts sweetening the deal for energy storage systems

a fenced enclosure of battery units
Battery units in Longmont, Colo. Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A new $3.5 million energy storage system went online last month in Ashburnham, Mass., continuing a statewide expansion of systems designed to ease pressure on the electric grid at times of peak demand.

Why it matters: In January, Massachusetts became the first state to offer incentives for battery systems, with the approval of a $2 billion state energy efficiency plan. The program is expected to support the installation of 30–34 MW of storage capacity during its 3-year term, on top of 190 MW from other operating and planned projects.

Expert Voices

Coal projects face higher investor hurdles as climate risks mount

smoke billowing out from a coal-fired power plant
A coal-fired power plant in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: Markus Scholz/picture alliance via Getty Images

The growing risks associated with financing new coal projects have driven European and American institutional investors to seek returns up to 4 times greater than those for other sources of energy, according to a survey by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Why it matters: The cost of capital is a key determinant of whether new coal plants will be built. If costs rise relative to those of competing sources, the construction, expansion and even ongoing operation of coal plants could become prohibitively expensive.