By - Jim Vess

Two FERC decisions pose problems for renewable energy generation

Energize Weekly, September 16, 2020 In a pair of September rulings, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has undercut the development of clean energy projects, according to environmentalists and a dissenting commissioner. A Sept. 1, FERC decision limited the flexibility of small, renewable energy projects to get certification that assures their electricity will be bought at favorable rates under the

By - Jim Vess

Could a Biden presidency be a boost to both the power sector and the oil and gas industry?

Energize Weekly, September 9, 2020 Joe Biden becoming president of the U.S. could be a boost for clean energy and perhaps somewhat ironically, for oil and gas – at least in the short run. That was the conclusion of energy industry consultants Wood Mackenzie and Rystad Energy in separate analyses. While Wood Mackenzie looked at Biden’s clean power plans and

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind investment hits $13 billion in 2019, generating capacity grows across the country

Energize Weekly, September 2, 2020 More than nine gigawatts (GW) of wind generating capacity – a $13 billion investment – was installed in the U.S. in 2019 as wind power output rose to 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity supply, according to a market report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Renewable energy investment globally – led by a

By - Jim Vess

Rural communities to get $865 million in infrastructure aid from USDA programs

Energize Weekly, August 26, 2020 The Trump administration, in the last three weeks, has announced $865 million in loans and grants to upgrade rural infrastructure – electric grids, water systems and broadband internet. The two largest programs are for water and wastewater systems – $462 million – and rural electrification – $371 million. The largest loans are in the rural

By - Jim Vess

The ongoing pandemic and weak economy led to across-the-board energy production cuts

Energize Weekly, August 19, 2020 Projections for U.S. energy production in 2020 – from oil to natural gas to coal – continued to fall as the novel coronavirus pandemic and global recession depress economies. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has lowered its estimate for domestic crude oil production by another 370,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 11.3 million b/d

By - Jim Vess

Technologies to bring economies to zero carbon emissions still lacking, IEA says

Energize Weekly, August 12, 2020 Many countries have announced ambitious climate goals to bring their economies to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but the technologies needed to cut emissions in areas like shipping and steelmaking don’t exist and may take decades to bring to market, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA report on clean energy innovation found

By - Jim Vess

Nearly all U.S. coal-fired power plants will be more expensive than wind and solar by 2025

Energize Weekly, August 5, 2020 The economic pressure on coal-fired power plants in the U.S. continues to grow with virtually the entire fleet out of the money compared to wind and solar generation by 2025, according to an analysis by Energy Innovation, a clean energy think tank. The study, done in conjunction with Vibrant Clean Energy, found that by 2018,

By - Jim Vess

New York State moves forward with big programs on renewable energy and EVs

Energize Weekly, July 29, 2020 New York State announced two big clean energy initiatives in July – the largest in the nation solicitation for 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable generation and a plan to build 110,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The New York Public Service Commission approved a plan on July 16 to allow six electric utilities in the

By - Jim Vess

Transition costs to a zero-emissions transport system drop with falling battery prices

Energize Weekly, July 22, 2020 The cost of a transitioning to zero-carbon transportation is plummeting – thanks to a drop in battery prices – and may not need much in the way of direct government investment to speed the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, according to an analysis by University of California, Davis researchers. In 2016, the UC Davis Institute of

By - Jim Vess

Will Renewable Energy Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic?

By Jennifer Bell The question; will renewable energy survive the COVID-19 pandemic? is a valid question to ask. In the midst of all of the chaos and uncertainty that the world has found itself in during recent months, renewable energy hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of people’s minds. An expert from Blue Sky Solar in Cherry Hill, NJ pointed

By - Jim Vess

U.S. coal production drops to a 57-year low, renewables overtake coal-fired generation

Energize Weekly, July 15, 2020 U.S. coal production is projected to plummet to its lowest level in more than half a century in 2020 as coal-fired electricity generation slips behind renewable generation, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). In its July short-term energy outlook, the EIA cut its previous 2020 coal production estimate by 5.4 percent to 501.3

By - Jim Vess

Coronavirus continues to twist and warp energy demand in the U.S., studies find

Energize Weekly, July 8, 2020 The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to torque and warp energy demand and markets in the U.S. from shifts in electricity demand to filling commercial oil storage to record levels. Electricity demand is projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to be the lowest since 2009 – 998 billion kilowatt-hours – and 5 percent below

By - Jim Vess

Coronavirus pandemic leads to massive job loss in energy, from oil and gas to renewables

Energize Weekly, June 24, 2020 Energy jobs – from oil and gas rigs to rooftop solar installations – continue to plummet under the weight of low oil prices and the novel coronavirus pandemic. In May, 27,000 additional clean energy workers filed unemployment claims, bringing the total job loss in the sector to 621,000 since March, according to an analysis done

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar deployment continue apace in 2020, could supply 90 percent of the grid by 2035

Energize Weekly, June 17, 2020 Renewable power’s continuing decline in prices is spurring near-term expansion, even in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic and, according to a new report, could power 90 percent of the U.S. electric grid by 2035 while reducing wholesale electricity prices. The analysis by the University of California, Berkeley and GridLab, a non-profit promoting clean

By - Jim Vess

Global prices for renewables fell across the board in 2018, IRENA says

Energize Weekly, June 10, 2020 Global prices for new renewable energy fell in 2018 for eight major types of electric generation, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Costs between 2017 and 2018 dropped from as much as 26 percent for concentrating solar power (CSP) to 1 percent for geothermal and offshore wind. “Cost declines across the board in

By - Jim Vess

Global energy investment plunges, another victim of the coronavirus pandemic, IEA says

Energize Weekly, June 3, 2020 Energy investment across the world has suffered an unparalleled 20 percent decline, equal to $400 billion, in 2020, as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA had projected an increase of 2 percent in global energy investment for the year, which would have been the biggest

By - Jim Vess

Global EV sales hit a coronavirus speed bump, but how big a bump is a question

Energize Weekly, May 27, 2020 Electric vehicle (EV) sales are hitting a pandemic speed bump in 2020, but whether it’s a small bump, a big bump or a huge pothole depends on who is doing the forecasting. The projections for the year range from a modest 4.5 percent increase in sales over last year to a 43 percent drop in

By - Jim Vess

Renewable electricity generation set to surpass coal, which continues to decline, in 2020

Energize Weekly, May 20, 2020 Renewable electricity generation is set to surpass coal-fired generation in 2020, as coal continues to slide, having hit a 42-year low in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA is projecting a 25 percent drop in coal-fired generation in 2020 and an 11 percent increase in renewable generation, leading to renewables

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State and United Power fighting in court and before state and federal regulators

Energize Weekly, May 13, 2020 A new front was opened last week in the battle between Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and some of its electric cooperatives, as United Power, its largest member, filed a complaint in a Colorado district court charging subterfuge and breach of contract. Meanwhile on May 18, hearings will open at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission

By - Jim Vess

Utilities and state regulators delay rate increases, disconnections to deal with COVID-19

Energize Weekly, May 6, 2020 In the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, utilities and utility regulators are moving to postpone rate increases and guard against service shutdowns for customers as most states continue to impose stay-at-home orders for their residents. The moves are also creating some financial risk and uncertainties for utilities, according to industry analysts. Regulatory commissions in

By - Jim Vess

Wind power, a growing source of electricity in the U.S., faces an uncertain future

Energize Weekly, April 29, 2020 Wind power led in electricity generation installations in 2019, and this year is showing signs of becoming a bigger source of energy, according to several studies. Still, uncertainty about the economy and supply chains as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is making the sector’s future uncertain. In 2019, the electric power sector installed 23

By - Jim Vess

Coronavirus pandemic rattles energy markets from oil to wind to energy storage

Energize Weekly, April 22, 2020 Pandemic and recession are rippling through almost every corner of the energy sector from oil companies to wind, solar and energy storage manufacturers. “Over half the world’s population is now under lockdown, as demand for power drops and the risk of global recession grows,” according energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. “A ‘return to normal’ will be

By - Jim Vess

COVID-19 drives down electricity demand, puts renewable projects and balance sheets at risk

Energize Weekly, April 15, 2020 The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on electricity demand in the U.S. and on the utility industry is becoming clearer with lower loads, changing peak demands, more emphasis on renewable generation and emerging financial risks. U.S. power usage is set to drop more steeply in 2020 than in any year at least over the

By - Jim Vess

NRC to grant waivers for work-hour limits at nuclear units to meet pandemic staffing needs

Energize Weekly, April 8, 2020 Faced with the risk of not being able to meet the rigorous staffing requirement for operating nuclear power plants during the ongoing pandemic, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it is prepared to grant exemptions from work-hour controls. The NRC in a March 28 letter to the industry trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI),

By - Jim Vess

Electricity demand drops as utilities enact plans to keep lights on during the pandemic

Energize Weekly, April 1, 2020 The closing of businesses and sheltering-in-place of millions of citizens to tamp down the novel coronavirus pandemic is dampening demand for electricity, even as utilities across the country put in place emergency plans to keep electrons flowing through the grid. Between March 14 and March 24, daily peak demand was down between 2.2 percent to

By - Jim Vess

Solar industry catches a bad case of the coronavirus as supply and demand both fall

Energize Weekly, March 25, 2020 The solar industry has caught a case of the coronavirus ­with the symptoms being a supply chain slowdown and a drop in demand for solar projects. With China manufacturing 70 percent of the world’s solar panels, the emergence of the disease there and the aggressive steps to shut down social interactions including factory work was

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy proposes TOU rates for all Colorado residential customers

Energize Weekly, March 4, 2020 Time-of-use electricity rates are increasingly being seen as a valuable tool in reducing peak demand and managing renewable energy generation – but concerns are being voiced over their impact on low-income and elderly customers. Xcel Energy is seeking to shift all of its 1.2 million Colorado residential customers to summer time-of-use rates and the move

By - Jim Vess

Energy a big focus for Virginia legislature which passes sweeping clean energy bill

Energize Weekly, February 26, 2020 The Virginia legislature, on a pair of razor-thin votes, has passed a sweeping energy bill that will bolster renewable generation, energy storage and efforts to set a carbon dioxide cap and trade program. While the Clean Economy Act was the most far-reaching and visible piece of energy legislation at the state legislature this session it

By - Jim Vess

Global carbon emissions flat in 2019 as the U.S. leads the way in CO2 cuts

Energize Weekly, February 19, 2020 Global carbon emissions slowed in 2019 after two years of growth as increases in developing nations were offset by a sharp drop in power sector emissions in developed countries led by the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide in 2019 were 33 gigatons, a 1.3 percent drop

By - Jim Vess

New York States seeks to develop another 1 GW to 2.5 GW of new offshore wind power

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020 New York State energy officials have filed a petition with state regulators to begin the process to develop 1 gigawatt (GW) to 2.5 GW of new offshore wind projects. This follows on the award in July 2019 of two contracts for 1.7 GW in offshore project – Equinor Wind’s 816-megawatt Empire Wind Project and the

By - Jim Vess

New York Mayor de Blasio seeks to end the use of oil and gas in large buildings

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking aim at fossil fuels seeking to end the use of natural gas and oil in large buildings and banning the development of oil and gas infrastructure in the city. Other initiatives include switching the municipal feet to electric vehicles and increasing rooftop solar in the city.

By - Jim Vess

Renewables poised to overtake coal and nuclear power in 2021, natural gas in 2045

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020 Renewables are set to overtake both coal-fired and nuclear generation by 2021 and natural gas-fired generation by 2045, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Wind and solar are leading the surge in renewable generation, which EIA says will account for 21 percent of the total electricity in 2021, while nuclear makes up 19

By - Jim Vess

Evergy sets goal of 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions and an increase in wind power

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020 Evergy Inc., which serves Kansas and Missouri, has set a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 and announced plans to add 660 megawatts (MW) of wind power. The company said that it will reach a 40 percent reduction in emissions from the 2005 benchmark by 2020 and

By - Jim Vess

Last coal-fired plant in New York to close, New England plants not far behind, EIA says

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020 New York State’s last coal-fired power plant is set to close as early as mid-March and coal-fired power is headed in the same direction in New England, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). “As many of the coal-fired power plants in New England and New York have either retired or switched fuels, the

By - Jim Vess

U.S. posts a record for wind installations in Q4 2019 led by Texas and Iowa projects

Energize Weekly, February 5, 2020 The U.S. wind industry finished 2019 in a flurry with the busiest fourth quarter on record as 5,476 megawatts (MW) of capacity were installed, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The late push made 2019 the third busiest year for wind turbine installations – 9,143 MW. There were 35 projects in 16 states

By - Jim Vess

Corporate clean energy purchases soared in 2019 to a record 19.5 GW, Bloomberg says

Energize Weekly, February 5, 2020 Corporations purchased a record 19.5 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy contracts in 2019, a 40 percent increase over 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Contracts, primarily power purchase agreements (PPAs), were signed by more than 100 companies in 23 different countries, marking a three-fold increase from 2017. “Corporations have purchased over 50 GW

By - Jim Vess

New York State pension plan looks at divesting from coal mining companies in its portfolio

Energize Weekly, February 5, 2020 The New York State Common Retirement Fund – the third largest public pension plan in the country – said it may divest from any of the 27 thermal coal companies in its portfolio which it deems are not taking steps to “transition to a sustainable business model.” “Investors who fail to face the risks and

By - Jim Vess

U.S. coal plants pinched between economic pressures and inefficient cycling of the units

Energize Weekly, February 5, 2020 U.S. coal-fired power plants – facing economic and operational pressures – are running with more shutdowns and startups, which are less economical and more wearing on equipment, according to a study by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). The study said increases in “cycling” of coal plants as well as faster changes in

By - Jim Vess

India moves into top spot for clean energy investment among emerging markets, BNEF says

Energize Weekly, January 29, 2020 India is moving to the top as an emerging-market destination for clean energy investment, followed by Chile and Brazil, while China, long the biggest market, slips to fourth, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Bloomberg’s Climatescope evaluated countries based on market and policy fundamentals, experience with green investment and opportunities. India

By - Jim Vess

Climate change threatens profitability of investor-owned utilities, Moody’s says

Energize Weekly, January 29, 2020 From heat to humidity to severe storms investor-owned utilities across the U.S. will face particular regional climate change hazards, according to an analysis by Moody’s Investors Services. A utility in the Southeast, such as Duke Energy, could face risk from heavier storms, floods and storm surges that could threaten plant operations and coal ash piles.

By - Jim Vess

Oil companies need to investment more in the global energy transition, IEA says

Energize Weekly, January 29, 2020 The oil and gas industry needs to be major player in the global transition to cleaner energy, in part to maintain its social license to operate, but barely 1 percent of its capital investment is going to alternative technologies, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). “The transformation of the energy sector can happen without

By - Jim Vess

Investments in U.S. offshore wind could outstrip offshore oil by mid-2020s, Rystad says

Energize Weekly, January 29, 2020 Annual investment in U.S. offshore wind – based on projects in the pipeline – could reach $15 billion by the mid-2020s, surpassing offshore oil and gas capital expenditures, according to Rystad Energy. Rystad Energy, an Oslo-based energy consultant, called the trend “a truly remarkable development.” There are 6.4 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind projects that

By - Jim Vess

U.S. sets a renewable investment record as global investment stalls, BNEF says

Energize Weekly, January 22, 2020 U.S. renewable energy investment surged in 2019 to a record $55.5 billion, a 28 percent year-on-year increase, helping global renewable energy investment post a modest 1 percent rise to $282.2 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Investment in China, the world’s largest renewable energy market, was down 8 percent to $83.4 billion, the

By - Jim Vess

Natural gas-fired generation to cool in 2020 as the pace for renewables picks up, EIA says

Energize Weekly, January 22, 2020 After robust growth in the last few years, natural gas-fired electricity generation and new natural gas-fired capacity growth will be modest in 2020, according to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) analysis. The EIA projects generation from natural gas-fired plants will grow by 1.3 percent in 2020, the slowest rate since 2017. At the same time,

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State clean energy plan includes 1 GW of utility-scale solar, more local co-op projects

Energize Weekly, January 22, 2020 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the wholesale power provider for 43 Western electric cooperatives, said it will add 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar generation and open the way for its co-ops to add more of their own renewables. Under Tri-State’s “Responsible Energy Plan,” the association aims to reach 50 percent renewable energy generation by 2024,

By - Jim Vess

Aging grid challenged by shift to renewable and natural gas generation, ScottMadden says

Energize Weekly, January 22, 2020 The aging U.S. electrical grid is facing challenges from just-in-time natural gas plant fueling and a growing demand for renewable generation, which it will not be able to meet without new investment and policies, according to a study by business consultant ScottMadden Inc. “The grid is undergoing a shift in its generation mix,” the report,

By - Jim Vess

Denmark, Germany and Spain move closer to 50 percent renewable electricity generation

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020 In 2019, three European countries – Denmark, Germany and Spain ­–were all closing in on getting 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Wind power provided more than 47 percent of the electricity in Denmark, and solar bumped the total from renewable sources to 50 percent, according to Energinet, the Danish national transmission system

By - Jim Vess

Wind turbine maker Vestas sets a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020 Vestas, the world’s top wind turbine manufacturer, has set a target of becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030 and to push for carbon reduction across its supply chain. Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas said that it will reduce its carbon footprint by 55 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030. The company said that

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State, facing economic, political pressures, moves to close its last two coal-fired plants

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020 Under pressure from market forces, dissatisfied members and environmental policies, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced it will close the last two coal-fired plants it operates and move to add more renewable energy. Tri-State said that it will close its Escalante Station, in Prewitt, N.M., by the end of 2020, and two units at

By - Jim Vess

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2019, but face a future bump from oil and gas

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020 The burgeoning U.S. oil and gas and petrochemical sectors are set to add greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years – even as they decline for the power sector, according to two analysis of the country’s emissions. In 2019, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1 percent, a decline almost entirely due to a record

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