By - Jim Vess

Solar PV capacity continues to grow in urban America led by California cities

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019 American cities are continuing to be a beacon for solar generation as the number of large municipalities with more than 50 megawatts (MW) installed has tripled to 23, while 45 cities have doubled their photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity. Those were among the findings in the sixth annual survey of solar in large cities by the

By - Jim Vess

Combined-cycle natural gas generation overtook coal in total capacity in early 2019

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019 Natural gas-fired combined-cycle generating capacity in the U.S. overtook coal-fired generation as the country’s largest single source of electricity generation in early 2019, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). In January 2019, there were 264 gigawatts (GW) of combined-cycle gas-fired plant capacity and 243 GW of coal-fired plant capacity. In 2002, there were

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage had a record year in 2018, and growth is projected through 2024

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019 The global energy storage market posted a record 120 percent year-on-year growth, with 6 gigawatt-hours (GWh) installed. The future looks strong with capacity growing thirteenfold by 2024, according to a Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables study. “From 2013 to 2018, we saw fledgling market growth” with a total of 12 GWh installed, Ravi Manghani, Wood

By - Jim Vess

New Jersey sets up online registry to promote offshore wind projects, attract investment

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019 New Jersey has created an online supply chain registry to help develop 1,100 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind projects—a priority for the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy. The registry will the enable companies “to publicly indicate their interest and ability to supply components and services,” according to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA),

By - Jim Vess

Global renewable generation rises in 2018 led by solar and wind

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019 Global renewable electric generating capacity rose 7.9 percent in 2018, adding 171 gigawatts (GW), with wind and solar installations accounting for 84 percent of the new generation, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The majority of new renewable installations, 61 percent or 105 GW, were in Asia, giving the region 11.4 percent year-on-year

By - Jim Vess

Brazilian LNG-to-power project gets $288 million loan from International Finance Corp.

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019 A Brazilian liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant project, developed by an international joint venture, has received a $288 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organization to the World Bank. The 15-year loan will cover development and operation of the plant in the state of Rio de Janeiro by Geração de

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy proposes a $76 million EV charging station program in North Carolina

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019 Duke Energy has filed a plan with North Carolina regulators for a three-year, $76 million pilot plan to add electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and promote the growth of the vehicles in the state. “North Carolina’s current pace of EV infrastructure availability cannot support the current and future pace of EV growth, and as EV

By - Jim Vess

Dynamic pricing for EVs could lead to $2.6 billion in benefits for Illinois consumers, study says

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019 A well-designed electric vehicle (EV) program in Illinois could create $2.6 billion in consumer benefits, according to the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), a consumer watchdog group. The key to those benefits is simultaneously promoting the adoption of EVs and creating a rate structure that optimizes the charging of those vehicles at off-peak hours, particularly late

By - Jim Vess

Maryland once again wrestling with a push to raise the state’s renewable energy standard

Energize Weekly, April 3, 2019 The Maryland legislature is taking a second stab at raising the state’s standard for renewable electricity generation to 50 percent by 2030 from the current target of 25 percent in 2020. Last year, a similar effort stalled as a key committee—the House of Delegates’ Economic Committee—rejected the legislation. The 25 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS)

By - Jim Vess

Prices for lithium-ion batteries and offshore wind are dropping sharply, Bloomberg says

Energize Weekly, April 3, 2019 The cost of two of the most expensive clean electricity technologies—lithium-ion batteries and offshore wind turbines—are dropping in price more quickly than had been forecast, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analysis. Since the first half of 2018, the levelized cost of lithium-ion batteries is down 35 percent to $187 per megawatt-hour (MWh)

By - Jim Vess

U.S. coal exports, driven by Asian demand for metallurgic coal, hits five-year high in 2018

Energize Weekly, April 3, 2019 Exports of U.S. coal reached their highest level in five years, 116 million short tons, in 2018, even as domestic consumption continued to decline. The figures are based on foreign trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. exported 15 percent of its coal production in 2018, particularly metallurgical coal used in making steel,

By - Jim Vess

Majority of nation’s coal plants are undercut on costs by wind and solar, study says

Energize Weekly, April 3, 2019 Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s coal-fired electric generation could be matched or undercut on cost by local wind and solar installations, according to analysis by Energy Innovation and Vibrant Clean Energy. The report projects that the portion of the coal-fired fleet economically challenged by renewable generation will grow from 211 gigawatts (GW) in 2018 to

By - Jim Vess

New global wind generation hits 50 GW in 2018 led by China, Wood Mackenzie says

Energize Weekly, March 27, 2019 Global wind power generation grew by 50.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2018, a 4 percent increase over 2017, according to energy consultant Wood Mackenzie’s Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update: Q1 2019 report. It was the third biggest year for wind installations, and the pace was set by China, with a 37 percent year-on-year increase, as

By - Jim Vess

Renewable and nuclear generation each set records in 2018

Energize Weekly, March 27, 2019 Renewable and nuclear generation—which combined account for about 37 percent of the nation’s electricity—both set records in the U.S. in 2018, according the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Renewables generated a record 742 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2018, almost double the production in 2008 and accounted for 17.6 percent of electricity production for the year.

By - Jim Vess

GM’s energy efficiency program in Flint earns a $2.8 million rebate from Consumers Energy

Energize Weekly, March 20, 2019 General Motors, which has had a sustained program to increase the energy efficiency of its plants, received a $2.8 million payment from Consumers Energy in early March for energy-saving upgrades at its Flint, Mich., plant. “General Motors has made a commitment to sustainability, and we are pleased to work with them to take actions that

By - Jim Vess

Facing costly coal plant closures more states are looking to using securitized bonds

Energize Weekly, March 20, 2019 Faced with a growing number of coal plant closures, some states are looking at the use of securitized bonds to soften the financial impact. New Mexico and Colorado already have legislation to create such bonds. “Securitized bonds are a way to avoid a rate shock and benefit from lower rates from cheaper generation,” said by

By - Jim Vess

Florida Power & Light to build four solar facilities, adding nearly 300 MW of capacity

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2019 Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) announced last week that it plans to build four additional solar power installations, with a total of 298 megawatts (MW) of capacity. The plants are slated to go on line in 2020. The utility has committed to one of the largest expansions of solar in the eastern U.S., with

By - Jim Vess

Bill overhauling Colorado oil and gas regulations is speeding through the legislature

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2019 A bill aimed at dramatically overhauling regulation of oil and gas operations in Colorado is swiftly moving through the state legislature. The legislation is in response to growing concerns as large fracking operations get closer to suburban development and in the wake of a string of court rulings that knocked down local attempts to deal

By - Jim Vess

A hot summer and cold winter drive U.S. electricity sales to a new record in 2018

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2019 U.S. electricity generation—driven by both a hot summer and a cold winter—rose 4 percent in 2018 to a record high of 4,178 million megawatt-hours (MWh). Generation for the first time surpassed the 2007, pre-recession peak of 4,157 million MWh, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Retail electricity sales to both the residential and

By - Jim Vess

Some states move toward carbon-free generation, while others try to save coal plants

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2019 While some states are pushing legislation for 100 percent renewable or carbon-free electricity, Montana and Wyoming are fighting a rearguard action trying to save local coal-fired plants. On March 4, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz proposed a bill to get the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050. That same day in New Mexico,

By - Jim Vess

North Dakota commission approves the state’s first commercial solar installation

Energize Weekly, March 6, 2019 The North Dakota Public Service Commission gave a green light to the state’s first commercial solar installation—a $250 million project—on Feb. 26. It is slated to begin operation in 2020. The commission, on a 2-1 vote, approved the plan by Edina, Minn.-based Geronimo Energy to construct the 200-megawatt (MW) facility on a 1,662-acre site in

By - Jim Vess

Renewables accelerator to help cities procure 2.8 gigawatts for clean energy in two years

Energize Weekly, March 6, 2019 A program to help cities obtain 2.8 gigawatts of renewable generation—more than the total existing solar capacity in Nevada, Florida and Texas—was launched Feb. 26. The program—a joint effort by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)—will provide technical expertise in helping cities obtain large-scale

By - Jim Vess

DOE to spend $28 million developing deep water offshore wind turbines

Energize Weekly, March 6, 2019 The U.S. Department of Energy is funding a $28 million research program to tap an offshore wind resource—deep water—that has been technologically and economically out of reach. The program run by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is seeking to develop turbines and platforms “that maximize power to weight ratios while maintaining or increasing turbine

By - Jim Vess

Midwest polar vortex fuels natural gas demand record and near-record for electricity

Energize Weekly, March 6, 2019 Extreme cold at the end of January pushed Midwest natural gas consumption to record levels and near-record levels for electricity demand on Jan. 31—the single coldest day when temperatures dropped to as low as minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Natural gas, the primary heating fuel in the region, hit a record demand of 37.9 billion cubic

By - Jim Vess

Four turbine makers dominate 2018 wind market, which saw 45 gigawatts in new generation

Energize Weekly, February 27, 2019 Onshore wind projects commissioned in 2018 ticked down to 45 gigawatts (GW) from 47 GW a year earlier—with four manufacturers dominating the market, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report. The four—Denmark’s Vestas, China’s Goldwind, American GE Renewable Energy and Spain’s Siemens Gamesa—accounted for 57 percent of the turbines deployed in 2018. The report

By - Jim Vess

Montana-Dakota Utilities to close uneconomical coal plants in favor of gas and wind

Energize Weekly, February 27, 2019 Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) said it will close three aging coal-fired generation units in the next three years, replacing the capacity with cheaper natural gas-fired and wind generation. “Low-cost power available on the market, due to low-cost natural gas and increasing wind resources, as well as rising costs to operate these facilities, led to the decision

By - Jim Vess

Arizona Public Service to add 850 MW of battery storage and 100 MW of solar

Energize Weekly, February 27, 2019 Arizona Public Service (APS) plans to add 850 megawatts (MW) of battery storage, one of the largest storage projects in the country, and 100 MW of solar generation by 2025. The new storage is part of a broad plan to twin solar generation with storage, which includes adding 200 MW of storage to eight existing

By - Jim Vess

TVA sees growth in solar and natural gas generation, but no new wind, coal or hydro assets

Energize Weekly, February 27, 2019 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is projecting greater reliance on solar, natural gas and storage to meet electricity demand—but no new coal, wind or hydro—in its draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). A long-term planning document, the watchword in the IRP is “flexibility” in the face of market and technological changes. The IRP will “enhance TVA’s

By - Jim Vess

Renewables will provide 50 percent of electricity generation by 2035, McKinsey says

Energize Weekly, February 27, 2019 Renewable generation will meet 50 percent of world electricity demand by 2035 as electricity consumption doubles until 2050, according to McKinsey & Co.’s 2019 energy analysis. “The role of renewable resources in power generation grows at an accelerated pace,” the consulting firm’s analysis said. “From 25 percent today, renewables will grow their share of global

By - Jim Vess

Wind power installations have a big 2018 fourth quarter, powered by corporate power purchases

Energize Weekly, February 20, 2019 Wind generation installations in the fourth quarter of 2018 hit 5,944 megawatts (MW)—the third highest quarter on record for new installations—driven by corporate and non-utility power purchases, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) market report. Corporate and non-utility wind procurement accounted for 68 percent of the total installations in the fourth quarter—a 66

By - Jim Vess

Solar jobs fell for the second year in a row on uncertainties over federal and state policies

Energize Weekly, February 20, 2019 Solar industry employment dropped for the second straight year in 2018 as the sector was roiled by uncertainties over federal and state policies, according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census. As of November 2018, the sector employed 242,000 workers, a 3.2 percent decline, or 8,000 fewer jobs, over 2017, the census found. The

By - Jim Vess

Colorado PUC ruling sets stage for rural electric cooperative to leave Tri-State G&T

Energize Weekly, February 20, 2019 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission waded into a dispute between a Western Slope rural electric cooperative and the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association over the co-op’s efforts to leave the association. The commission’s decision will provide a new level of oversight for Tri-State, which provides wholesale electricity to 43 rural cooperatives in Colorado, Nebraska, New

By - Jim Vess

Concentrating solar could play a bigger role in electricity generation if costs are pared

Energize Weekly, February 13, 2019 Concentrating solar power (CSP), which has lagged in deployment behind photovoltaic solar, could play a bigger role by 2050 if the price of the technology could be halved, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), under its SunShot Initiative, has set a target of reducing

By - Jim Vess

Coal and oil all but disappear from New England electricity generation

Energize Weekly, February 13, 2019 Oil and coal, once the dominant sources of electricity generation in New England, have all but disappeared, primarily replaced by natural gas, according to ISO New England, the region’s grid operator. Since 2000, coal’s share of energy production has dropped to 1 percent from 18 percent, and oil is now 1 percent compared to 22

By - Jim Vess

Increase in exports and prices can’t stop a fall in U.S. coal production and mine closures

Energize Weekly, February 6, 2019 Coal production in the U.S. was down nearly 3 percent year-on-year to 755 million short tons in 2018, with mines continuing to close, despite an increase in prices and exports, according to federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Coal production slipped in three of the five major coal-producing basins as the Rocky Mountain region suffered

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy adds 565 MW of solar in the Carolinas, plans another 680 MW in 2019

Energize Weekly, February 6, 2019 Duke Energy installed 565 megawatts (MW) of solar in North and South Carolina in 2018, and the company says it has plans to roll out even more solar projects in 2019. The 2018 projects bring total solar capacity installed in the two states in the last four years to 2,500 MW, enough to power about

By - Jim Vess

Corporate purchases of clean energy soar to a new record in 2018

Energize Weekly, February 6, 2019 Corporations bought a record 13.4 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy through power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2018, more than double the record set in 2017. Analyses by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables reported on the trend. Facebook, Google and Amazon continued to be the largest customers, accounting for a

By - Jim Vess

Renewable energy advances in the European Union as coal-fired generation continues to decline

Energize Weekly, February 6, 2019 Renewable energy generation became cost competitive with coal in the European Union (EU) in 2018 and continued to increase its share of the continent’s electricity production, according to an analysis by two energy think tanks. The growth in renewables is coming at the expense of coal, and that is leading to a continued decline in

By - Jim Vess

New Jersey creates community solar pilot, a first step in a establishing a permanent program

Energize Weekly, January 30, 2019 The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved a three-year pilot for developing community solar projects, also known as solar gardens, which is seen as a key component in newly elected Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda. The “Community Solar Pilot” will provide for up to 75 megawatts (MW) of solar installations in

By - Jim Vess

DOE announces $38 million program aimed at making coal-fired power plants more efficient

Energize Weekly, January 30, 2019 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $38 million, cost-share program to support projects aimed at making the country’s coal-fired power plants more flexible and compatible with renewable energy.  The stated goal is to develop “enhancing technologies that improve the overall performance, reliability and flexibility of the nation’s existing coal-fired power plant fleet.” “Utilizing

By - Jim Vess

Led by wind and natural gas, 49,000 megawatts of new generation to come on line in 2019

Energize Weekly, January 30, 2019 New generation is slated to grow by 49,000 megawatts (MW) in 2019 while 8,050 MW of coal-fired units will be closed or converted to natural gas, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Wind will account for the largest portion of new generation at 22,475 MW—45 percent of all planned additions. The biggest of the wind

By - Jim Vess

Global clean energy investments fall in 2018 as solar takes a big hit

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 Global clean energy investments were down slightly in 2018 to $332 million, but it still marked the fifth year in a row with more than $300 billion in expenditures, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Investments were off 8 percent when compared to 2017, led by a fall in solar financing, which was down

By - Jim Vess

NY Gov. Cuomo proposes Green New Deal with $1.5 billion in energy grants

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has begun to roll out specifics of his proposed “Green New Deal,” including $1.5 billion in grants for large-scale renewable energy projects and a $70 million fund to help communities absorb tax losses from shuttered coal-fired power plants. The programs were outlined in Cuomo’s State of the State address Jan.

By - Jim Vess

Utilities must redefine their relations with customers to deal with emerging issues, J.D. Power says

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 Utility companies need to redefine how they interact with their customers to deal with emerging issues, such as time-of-use rates, electric vehicles (EVs) and rooftop solar, according to an analysis by marketing research company J.D Power. “There is a need for traditional utilities to engage with their customers as things are happening,” Andrew Heath, senior

By - Jim Vess

Transportation bottlenecks pose a $2.1 billion risk to wind industry, Wood Mackenzie says

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 The wind industry’s practice of end-loading projects to the fourth quarter of each year could lead to serious bottlenecks and jeopardize some of the 23 gigawatts in the pipeline over the next two years, according to a Wood Mackenzie study. Nearly a quarter of the 23 gigawatts (GW) projected to be developed in the next

By - Jim Vess

Natural gas-fired plants dominated 2018 new generating capacity, renewables set to rebound in 2019

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 New natural gas-fired generation capacity in 2018 accounted for nearly three-quarters of the total 24,808 megawatts (MW) installed for the year—and was double the amount of gas-fired capacity installed in 2017, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The 18,550 MW of natural gas-fired capacity more than offset the 16,900 MW of coal-fired plants that

By - Jim Vess

EV sales set a record in 2018, almost doubling the number of electric vehicles sold

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 Electric vehicle (EV) sales soared in 2018, surpassing record-breaking 2017 by 81 percent with 361,307 vehicles sold, according to Inside EVs, a market-tracking website. December also set a monthly record with 49,900 plug-in vehicles sold, nearly double the number sold in December 2017. Each of the last three months of 2018 posted a record, beating

By - Jim Vess

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose across all sectors in 2018, Rhodium says

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 U.S. carbon dioxide emissions linked to energy use rose for the first time in three years in 2018—with all sectors from power generation to manufacturing to home heating—posting increases. There was a 3.4 percent increase in emissions, according to a study by the Rhodium Group, an energy and economic analytics consultant. “This marks the second

By - Jim Vess

Natural disasters caused $160 billion in damages in 2018 with about half covered by insurers

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 Natural disasters worldwide caused $160 billion in damage and killed 10,400 people in 2018, making it the fourth mostly costly year for the insurance industry since 1980, according to the international insurer Swiss Re Group. “The indications at the start of 2018 were that it would be a more moderate year,” Petra Löw, a Swiss

By - Jim Vess

Floating solar in U.S. reservoirs could produce 10 percent of the nation’s electricity

Energize Weekly, January 9, 2019 Floating solar panels on 24,000 man-made reservoirs in the U.S. could generate 10 percent of the nation’s electricity and avoid gobbling up 8,100 square miles of land with ground installations. One of the challenges with large-scale deployment of wind and solar generation is the land requirements but shifting to floating photovoltaics (PV) could offer one

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