By - Jim Vess

Sunrun sets a record for installations in Q3, but its stock slides on a $2.9 million loss

Energize Weekly, November 14, 2018 Sunrun, the country’s largest solar installer in 2017, set a record in the third quarter of 2018 with 100 megawatts of installations, but a $2.9 million loss for the period sent its stock plunging. The 100 MW—13,000 solar arrays—surpassed the previous record of 91 MW, set in the second quarter of 2018. The company said

By - Jim Vess

Lazard analysis shows wind and solar becoming the cheapest new generating capacity

Energize Weekly, November 14, 2018 The cost of building and running wind and utility-scale solar projects is now beginning to undercut the major forms of baseload generation—natural gas, coal and nuclear, according to analysis by the financial consulting firm Lazard Ltd. Lazard’s 12th annual “levelized cost of energy” (LCOE) analysis, released Nov. 8, for the first time shows large-scale wind

By - Jim Vess

PJM could face reliability risks in early 2020s if more coal and nuclear generation is retired

Energize Weekly, November 7, 2018 The PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest grid, can manage the announced closures of coal and nuclear plants even in the face of severe weather—but with the loss of additional generation, “the system may be at risk.” The assessment comes from the PJM’s Fuel Security Analysis released Nov. 1, which was done as its grid, which

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind turbine market sets construction and sales records in the third quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, November 7, 2018 The U.S. wind industry installed 612 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity during the third quarter of 2018, a 15 percent increase over the third quarter of 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) quarterly market report. Project construction activity in the third quarter also set a new record with a total

By - Jim Vess

Record number of coal plants to close in 2018 as utility industry carbon emissions drop

Energize Weekly, November 7, 2018 The U.S. power sector will close a record 15.4 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power plants in 2018, as federal data shows a steady, long-term drop in carbon dioxide emissions from the sector. An assessment by the non-profit Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) projects the retirement of 44 units at 22 plants in

By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy calls for 500 MW of onshore wind and solar projects in Virginia

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 Dominion Energy issued a request for bids on Oct. 24 for 500 megawatts (MW) of solar and onshore wind generation as part of a plan to develop 3,000 MW of renewable resources in Virginia. Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Energy pledged to develop the wind and solar resources, enough to power 750,000 homes, under state’s new Grid

By - Jim Vess

Colorado, the leader in community solar, set to get six more solar gardens on Western Slope

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 Colorado—the leading state in the nation for community solar gardens—is set to get six more of the shared arrays, with a total of 10.3 megawatts (MW) of generation, on the state’s more rural Western Slope. The sites are all located along the Interstate 70 corridor and are being developed by Pivot Energy and Standard Solar.

By - Jim Vess

Cannabis industry drives growing electricity demand, expected to soar with increased legalization

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 The legal cannabis industry in the U.S. is becoming a big energy consumer, using 1.1 million megawatts-hours a year—enough to power 92,500 homes— with consumption projected to grow by 162 percent between 2017 and 2002, according to a study by New Frontier Data. “As more states transition from illicit markets to legal medical markets or

By - Jim Vess

Efficiency programs, which could have a big impact on emissions, are flagging, IEA says

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 Energy efficiency programs could dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions even as economic activity doubled—but those programs’ gains slowed as efficiency policies have weakened, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Following two years of low growth, global energy demand grew by 2 percent in 2017, the fastest increase since 2010. That growth exceeded the 1.7

By - Jim Vess

Corporate renewable power purchases set a record in 2018 with the tech sector leading the way

Energize Weekly, October 24, 2018 Corporate renewable energy power purchases—which have spurred $15 billion in capital investment in the last eight years—have already set an annual record in 2018 led by tech companies. So far this year, corporate customers have purchased 4.96 gigawatts of renewable electricity through 59 deals, according to the Business Renewables Center, a program run by the

By - Jim Vess

PJM has had the biggest growth in natural gas-fired generation of any U.S. market

Energize Weekly, October 24, 2018 The PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. wholesale electricity market, has in the last five years added the most natural gas-fired capacity of any grid in the country, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). PJM has seen the closure or announced closure of coal-fired and nuclear plants on its grid, while steadily adding natural

By - Jim Vess

Goggle Maps adds EV charging stations around the world to its search

Energize Weekly, October 24, 2018 Google Maps is now a guide to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in countries around the world. A search on Google Maps in the U.S. will show the stations operated by Tesla, ChargePoint, SemaConnect, EVgo and Blink Network. The five companies account for about three-quarters of the more than 21,000 charging stations in the country.

By - Jim Vess

Pipeline constraints could hurt winter energy market prices in New York, Boston and Los Angeles

Energize Weekly, October 24, 2018 A forecast for a mild winter and adequate electricity generating capacity are good news for the winter energy markets, but pipeline constraints could create risks for several major cities, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessment. The growing dependence on natural gas-fired generation coupled with the pipeline issues could also “have significant implications

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar provided 10 states with 20 percent or more of their electricity in 2017

Energize Weekly, October 17, 2018 Wind and solar electric generation make up an average of only 8 percent of U.S. power supplies, but in 10 states these renewable resources provided 20 percent or more of the electricity supply in 2017, according to Federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. This group is led by Iowa and Kansas where wind generation respectively

By - Jim Vess

Georgia-Pacific is the latest company seeking to leave NV Energy for the open power market

Energize Weekly, October 17, 2018 Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, which operates a gypsum wallboard and plastic manufacturing plant near Las Vegas, is seeking to leave Nevada’s largest utility, NV Energy and buy power on its own. More than a dozen other companies have left or are seeking to leave NV Energy. Georgia-Pacific (GP) filed its application with Public Utilities Commission of Nevada

By - Jim Vess

Google finds matching carbon-free energy to its data centers’ round-the-clock demand a challenge

Energize Weekly, October 17, 2018 Google has been the world’s biggest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, buying enough to cover all of its total global consumption. Now it wants to go further matching carbon-free energy to its demand for every hour of every day. One of the biggest challenges of renewable generation is providing round-the-clock reliability, particularly for the two

By - Jim Vess

New Mexico regulators OK 2,200-MW wind project covering 300,000 acres

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 A plan to install 2,200 megawatts (MW) of wind generation—about 950 wind turbines—in central and eastern New Mexico was approved by state regulators on Oct. 3. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC), on a 4-to-0 vote, gave the green light to San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group’s Corona Wind project. In addition to the turbines,

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy Florida will install up to 530 EV charging stations in three-year pilot

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 Duke Energy said it will install up to 530 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Florida as part of a pilot in tandem with a three-year program to promote and study EV use. The “Park and Plug” program is focusing on placing charging stations for public use in areas with broad public access, such as

By - Jim Vess

Trump tariffs added $236.5 million to U.S. solar projects, EnergySage says

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 The Trump administration’s solar tariffs have added $236.5 million to U.S. solar projects this year, according to solar marketer EnergySage Marketplace. For the average residential customer, this added up to an extra 16 cents per watt or $960 for a standard 6-kilowatt solar installation, according to EnergySage, which runs a web-based comparison-shopping market for rooftop

By - Jim Vess

Natural gas and coal-fired electric generation fell in 2017 while renewable generation rose

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 Natural gas-fired electric generation fell a record 7.7 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year, and coal-fired generation was down 2.5 percent, marking the first time in a decade both electricity sources declined—at the same time renewable electricity hit a record, according to the federal Energy Information Association (EIA). Total U.S. net electricity generation

By - Jim Vess

High temperatures, fuel constraints pushed western electricity prices to a 10-year high this summer

Energize Weekly, October 3, 2018 High temperatures and tight fuel supplies pushed wholesale electricity prices in the western U.S. to their highest levels since 2008, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Temperatures were warmer than normal across the West. Portland, Ore., for example, posted 29 days of temperatures higher than 90 degrees from the beginning of June through

By - Jim Vess

Small reactors are the only viable path forward for nuclear energy, policy groups say

Energize Weekly, October 3, 2018 In order for the nuclear energy industry to survive it must move in a new—small is beautiful—direction with the help of revised federal policies and financial support, according to a new paper from the Breakthrough Institute, R Street Institute and ClearPath. The solution proposed by the three right-of-center think tanks is small reactors, each no

By - Jim Vess

Sempra sells renewable energy assets to Consolidated Edison for $1.5 billion

Energize Weekly, October 3, 2018 Sempra Energy has agreed to sell its U.S. non-utility operating solar assets, solar and battery storage development projects and one wind facility to Consolidated Edison Inc. for $1.54 billion in cash. “This sale represents an important step forward in the portfolio-optimization plan we announced in June to support market growth opportunities,” Joseph A. Householder, president and chief

By - Jim Vess

USDA to finance $398 million in rural electric projects in 13 states

Energize Weekly, October 3, 2018 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $398.5 million in funding to upgrade electric service in 13 states, including smart grid and renewable energy projects. “Reliable and affordable electricity is undeniably a necessity in today’s world,” Anne Hazlett, rural development assistant to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, said in a statement. “USDA is committed to

By - Jim Vess

Are Electric Utilities in a Death Spiral?

Energize Weekly, September 26, 2018 As electric utilities grapple with the challenges posed by significant revenue losses caused by the growth of distributed generation, the century-old business model utilities have long used to generate returns on their investments will die if utilities don’t change their ways, according to an industry survey for a new report by Black & Veatch. The

By - Jim Vess

Financing the cost of closing coal-fired power plants is a key to a clean energy transition, RMI says

Energize Weekly, September 26, 2018 A major obstacle in the transition from coal-fired power plants to cleaner energy generation is the “specter of financial losses” utility companies face in closing those plants. Solving that problem is a key to a quicker energy transition, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). In “Managing the Coal Capital Transition,” the RMI attempts to

By - Jim Vess

Minnesota’s community solar leads the nation and reaches 400-MW milestone

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Minnesota’s community solar program—the biggest and fastest growing in the country—reached a record 401 megawatts this summer, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The program was launched in November 2014 by Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility. There was a two-year lag as projects worked their way through the approval

By - Jim Vess

While most states still depend on fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, big shifts are underway

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Fossil fuels continue to be the main source for generating electricity in more than two-thirds of the country, but there continues to be a shift away from coal and natural gas, with a slight uptick in nuclear generation and hydropower, according to figures from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Coal-fired power plants provided the

By - Jim Vess

Carbon Tracker says fossil fuel demand peaks in 2020, spurred by rapid market transformation

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Demand for fossil fuels will peak in the 2020s, as market competition, technological innovation and shifts in energy transform the market and create financial risk, according to a Carbon Tracker analysis. The projections by the London-based energy think tank are aggressively predicting a peak at least a decade ahead of other forecasts. “We have seen

By - Jim Vess

Offshore wind development could bring a $3.6 billion boon to Eastern seaboard state

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Offshore wind power development could bring a $3.6 billion economic boon to five Eastern seaboard states, generating about 24,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent operations jobs, according to a study by BW Research. “The U.S. offshore wind industry is poised for substantial growth, thanks to falling costs and increasing recognition by state and federal policy

By - Jim Vess

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions dropped in 2017 as gas and coal use dipped

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. dropped slightly in 2017 due to a combination of weather conditions, energy efficiencies and the utility industry’s steady march away from burning coal, according to federal data. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) linked to energy activity in 2017 dipped by just less than 1 percent to 5.14 billion

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage market up 60 percent over last year in second quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 The U.S. energy storage market added 61.8 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter of 2018, a 42 percent increase over the first quarter, as demand for customer-owned batteries continued to grow, according to the Wood Mackenzie U.S. Energy Storage Monitor. Market growth year-over-year was up 60 percent, “thanks in large part to strong growth in

By - Jim Vess

Total worldwide sale of electric vehicles hits 4 million in September

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 The pace of electric vehicle (EV) sales is accelerating, reaching a total of four million vehicles on the roads worldwide this September, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. China has emerged as the key market for EVs, responsible for around 37 percent of passenger EVs sold globally since 2011 and for about 99 percent of

By - Jim Vess

Utility and power sector investments reach a record $180 billion in first half of 2018

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Utility and power sector deals globally hit a record $180 billion in the first half of 2018, spurred by industry consolidation and renewable energy investments, according to a report by Ernst & Young (EY). The accounting and consulting firm’s second quarter “Power Transactions and Trends” report shows record investment even as deals cooled in the

By - Jim Vess

Wind stays competitive in the face of low natural gas and wholesale energy prices, DOE says

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Wind generation, while facing some challenges in wholesale electricity markets, has continued to be competitive with prices for power purchase agreements and turbines continuing to fall, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). After reaching $70 a megawatt-hour long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2009, prices dropped to as low

By - Jim Vess

Dry cooling systems offering an alternative to power plants big demand for water, EIA says

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Power generation is one of the biggest consumers of water—used for cooling—in the U.S., but a small, though increasing number of plants are using dry cooling technology, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Dry-cooled and hybrid plants, which use both water and air cooling, account for only 3 percent of current steam-powered generating

By - Jim Vess

FirstEnergy plans to close four fossil fuel-fired power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) announced Aug. 29 that it plans to shutter four fossil fuel-fired power plants with a total of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity by 2022. “FES is closing the plants due to a market environment that fails to adequately compensate generators for the resiliency and fuel-security attributes that the plants provide,” the

By - Jim Vess

Montana wind developers seeks to use federal law in contract dispute over projects

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 A wind power developer has turned to Montana utility regulators and a federal law to resolve a payment dispute with NorthWestern Energy, the state’s largest utility, over four wind projects and a battery-storage facility it has proposed. Caithness Beaver Creek LLC (CBC) is seeking to develop the four projects, near Big Timber, Mont., totaling 80

By - Jim Vess

Study says shift from coal to renewables could save western co-ops $600 million

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 A switch from coal-fired generation to a mix anchored by low-cost wind and solar could save the rural electricity cooperatives served by one western generation and transmission association $600 million by 2030, according to analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). RMI, a non-profit energy consultant, used the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy and Pueblo steel mill strike fixed rate agreement including 240-MW solar plant

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 Xcel Energy and one of its largest Colorado customers, EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, have struck a unique agreement that gives the steelmaker a fixed electricity rate for 23 years and a 240-megawatt solar installation at the plant. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has to approve construction of the photovoltaic solar facility at the EVRAZ

By - Jim Vess

Corporate renewable energy buys in 2018 already surpass all-time record

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Corporate purchases of renewable energy worldwide in 2018 have reached 7.2 gigawatts (GW) and already surpass the all-time record set in 2017 by 33 percent. Long-term contracts to purchase wind and solar resources have been signed in 28 markets as the number of industries seeking clean energy resources is growing, according to an analysis by

By - Jim Vess

Industrial air pollution cut 60 percent as a result of federal clean air rules

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Air pollution from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent between 1990 and 2008 even as industrial output increased by 30 percent as a result of environmental laws and regulations, according to a study by University of California-Berkeley economists. The researchers analyzed newly available data on 1,400 products produced by U.S. factories between 1990 and 2008.

By - Jim Vess

Wind industry will be cushioned by five trends when key tax credit expires, WoodMac says

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 The federal wind production tax credit, which has been a key driver in the development of U.S. wind power projects is set to expire, but energy consultant Wood Mackenzie says there are five factors that will cushion its loss. The production tax credit (PTC), which grants a credit for each kilowatt-hour a wind project generates

By - Jim Vess

Michigan utilities propose $20 million in programs to boost EV charging stations

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Michigan’s two largest utilities are proposing electric vehicle (EV) charging programs totaling $20.5 million that would add thousands of stations in the state, according to filings with the Michigan Public Service Commission. Both plans also tie development of residential charging stations to time-of-use rates (TOU) aimed at getting customers to charge their vehicles in off-peak

By - Jim Vess

PG&E battery project hits snag as it draws consumer and business protests

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s (PG&E) battery program, which would be the world’s largest, has run into opposition from a California consumer advocate, and industrial and commercial customers. The California Office of Ratepayer Advocates and the Direct Access Customer Coalition, which represents “commercial, industrial and governmental customers who have opted for direct access for some

By - Jim Vess

Coal consumption by U.S. utility industry hit a 34-year low in 2017

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 U.S. coal consumption for electricity generation slipped to its lowest level in 34 years in 2017, continuing a four-year skid, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The utility industry used 661 million short tons of coal in 2017, as consumption and shipments by all modes of transport declined. Almost 70 percent the power-sector

By - Jim Vess

A third of gas-fired plants on the California grid could be closed without a reliability impact, study says

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 Nearly a third of the natural gas-fired power plants on the California grid could be retired without impairing reliability, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). There are 89 natural gas plants on the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) grid. Modeling by the UCS, a non-profit environmental group, found that 28

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State G&T co-ops pressure for lower prices and more renewables

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves 43 electric cooperatives in four Western states, is getting pressure from some of its co-ops, which are seeking better electricity prices and more renewable energy. The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, in Taos, New Mexico, has already paid $37 million to get out of its Tri-State contract, and several

By - Jim Vess

Community banks and credit unions are playing a large role in residential solar financing

Energize Weekly, August 8, 2018 Community banks and regional financial institutions are becoming a bigger force in the financing of residential and small commercial solar installations, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These community banks and credit unions represent a new source of capital for small-scale photovoltaic (PV) projects, and they are “experiencing positive early

By - Jim Vess

Wind power installations have a strong second quarter led by big projects in Texas, Michigan and Nebraska

Energize Weekly, August 8, 2018 A total of 626 megawatts (MW) of new wind generating capacity was installed in the second quarter of 2018—a 75 percent increase over the first quarter of 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) quarterly market report. The second-quarter figure was also up 54 percent from the first quarter of 2018. So far

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