STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
REPORT: FLAT DEMAND HELPING TO ENSURE RELIABLE SUMMER ENERGY SUPPLY
The Northeast region of the United States will have an adequate electricity supply this summer as the expected peak demand on the grid is expected to hold at roughly the same level as the last four years, according to a newly released assessment. Economic conditions, energy conservation and efficiency, and programs that kick in during high demand periods are contributing to the area’s relatively flat peak demand level, the Northeast Power Coordinating Council reported. Officials said weather conditions remain the most important variable in forecasting peak demand and that air conditioning use remains the single large factor affecting demand in the summer months. During a media conference call Thursday, council officials said the installed electricity capacity in the region, which includes New England, New York and some Canadian provinces, has increased by 3,400 megawatts since last summer. New York’s Danskammer plant, damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is back online and has bolstered energy supplies. Natural gas is the predominant fuel source for energy production and council officials said they do not anticipate any delivery issues that would affect electricity reliability this summer. The council monitors and enforces compliance with energy reliability standards, and officials said their assessment was based on thousands of computer simulations and historical data covering 40 years. – Michael Norton/SHNS
ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL CHEERS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL TIES TO MASS.
Visiting the Senate on Thursday, Consul General Yehuda Yaakov, the Israeli government’s representative in New England, spoke to lawmakers on Beacon Hill about the importance of economic and social ties between the state and Israel and of his country’s response to the earthquake in Nepal. The speech to the Senate was part of a celebration of Israeli Independence Day, which was April 23. According to the Israeli Foreign Service, Yaakov was born in Queens, New York before emigrating to Israel and despite his upbringing, “Yaakov is totally committed to Red Sox nation.” The Senate adopted a resolution celebrating the economic partnership between Massachusetts and Israel, and resolving to strengthen the partnership, which include direct flights between Tel Aviv and Boston starting on June 28. Noting more than 200 Israeli-founded companies in Massachusetts, Yaakov described the partnership as bipartisan starting when Gov. William Weld first visited Jerusalem in the 1990s. Yaakov described the response of the United States and Israel to the Nepal earthquake as an example of “shared values,” detailing how when a U.S. rescue team pulled a 15-year-old from the rubble they brought him to an Israeli field hospital. – Matt Murphy/SHNS