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

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

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

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

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

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

Utility industry urges EPA to keep mercury emissions rule in place and speed reviews

Energize Weekly, July 18, 2018 The electricity power industry—from cooperatives to municipality utilities to investor-owned utilities—is urging the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep in place the mercury pollution rules it had for years opposed. The industry had launched legal challenges of the 2012 rule to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, but in 2015, the Supreme Court,

By - Jim Vess

Natural gas-fired generation shoulders the biggest load during summer heat

Energize Weekly, July 18, 2018 The sizzling summer that is rolling across the country is being cooled by natural gas, which is supplying the biggest share of electricity generation, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA projects that natural gas-fired generation will supply 37 percent of the electricity from June to August, near the record set in

By - Jim Vess

World’s biggest reinsurer will no longer deal with companies with high exposure to coal

Energize Weekly, July 11, 2018 Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, said that it will no longer provide services to companies with a more than 30 percent exposure to thermal coal. The thermal coal policy applies to existing and new thermal coal mines and power plants, and will be implemented across all lines of business, the insurer said. These companies

By - Jim Vess

Nation’s oldest nuclear power plant to close, but total decommissioning will take 60 years

Energize Weekly, July 11, 2018 The Oyster Creek nuclear power plant, the oldest operating nuclear facility in the nation, will shut down in September and be decommissioned at a cost of $1.4 billion. Oyster Creek began operations on Dec. 1, 1969, and is to close after more than 48 years on Sept. 17, 2018. While the plant will shut down

By - Jim Vess

Nuclear industry faces a bleak future without new technology or market changes, study says

Energize Weekly, July 11, 2018 The U.S. nuclear industry faces a bleak future with existing plants uncompetitive in wholesale electricity markets and no technological relief likely for another 50 years, according to analysis by university researchers. “For entirely predictable and resolvable reasons, the United States appears set to virtually lose nuclear power, and thus a wedge of reliable and low-carbon

By - Jim Vess

Fossil fuel consumption in the power sector falls to a 23-year low in 2017

Energize Weekly, June 6, 2018 The power sector’s consumption of fossil fuels dropped in 2017 to levels not seen since 1994, as a result of closing aging coal plants and adding more efficient natural gas turbines, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). For the last four years, fossil fuel use has dropped steadily for the sector sliding to

By - Jim Vess

Falling renewable energy prices could make $112 billion in gas-fired generation a stranded asset, RMI study says

Energize Weekly, May 30, 2018 Coal-fired generation is being supplanted, for the most part, by cheaper natural gas turbines with $112 billion in new gas-fired power plants proposed or under construction, but those plants could face the same market fate as coal, according to an analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The analysis by RMI, an independent energy consultant,

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy plan to capture stranded assets from coal-fired plant challenged at PUC

Energize Weekly, May 23, 2018 An Xcel Energy proposal to close two Colorado coal-fired power plants as part of a plan to move to 55 percent renewable power by 2026 has drawn wide support, but how the closure is to be paid for has become a bone of contention. The price tag for shutting the 660 megawatts (MW) at the

By - Jim Vess

Natural gas-fired set to dominate 2018 electricity generation additions, EIA says

Energize Weekly, May 16, 2018 Almost 32 gigawatts (GW) of new electric-generating capacity is set to come online in 2018—the most in a decade, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Natural gas-fired generation will account for two-thirds of the new capacity, a sharp difference from 2017 when renewable energy generation was 55 percent of that year’s 21 GW

By - Jim Vess

Nuclear needs financial support to survive, and some states are already heeding the call

Energize Weekly, May 16, 2018 Nuclear power plants under pressure from market forces are facing closures, but states with high concentrations of nuclear power are stepping in to bolster these generators, and there may be additional policy initiatives that can be taken, according to new studies. “Nuclear power is responsible for around 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation and more

By - Jim Vess

PJM says proposed closing of FirstEnergy nuclear plants will not impact grid reliability

Energize Weekly, May 9, 2018 PJM Interconnection, the operator of the grid and wholesale electric market covering portions of the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, said that the proposed closing of three nuclear power plants in its system will not threaten grid stability. FirstEnergy said it will close two financially struggling nuclear plants in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania—a total of

By - Jim Vess

Nuclear and coal-fired power plant closures offer an expanded market for natural gas

Energize Weekly, May 2, 2018 A string of announced closings for nuclear and coal-fired power plants is part of a trend that is offering a big market for natural gas, according to an analysis by energy consultant BTU Analytics. In March, FirstEnergy announced that it would close three nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, with about 4,000 megawatts (MW)

By - Jim Vess

More than half of public power coal-fired plants remain competitive, Moody’s analysis says

Energize Weekly, May 2, 2018 A little more than half of the coal-fired power plants operated by public power utilities and generation and transmission cooperatives are economically competitive, though several are at risk, according to Moody’s Investor Service analysis. “Coal-fired generation in the U.S. remains under pressure due to coal’s lack of competitiveness against natural gas and even renewable energy

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar plus storage are challenging fossil fuels worldwide, Bloomberg says

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 Coal and natural gas are being hard pressed to compete as the comparative cost of wind, solar and battery storage continue to fall and in concert, can meet the power grid’s key needs, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) study. “Fossil fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it

By - Jim Vess

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

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 Natural gas-fired electric generation fell a record 7.7 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year, and coal-fired electricity 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

Renewable generation challenges nuclear as electricity got cleaner in 2017

Energize Weekly, February 21, 2018 The restructuring of the U.S. electricity generation portfolio continued in 2017 with renewable sources coming close to nuclear, while reductions in natural gas and coal made the total kilowatt-hours consumed by Americans cleaner, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Renewable generation was up 14 percent to 717 terawatt-hours (TWhs) in 2017 compared to 2016. Renewables

By - Jim Vess

Coal and nuclear electricity generation off to a rocky start in 2018

Energize Weekly, February 14, 2018 The prospects for coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation got off to a shaky start in 2018 with a projected record number of coal unit closures and three nuclear power plants set for shutdown. The Trump administration has been trying to find ways to bolster the two sectors. It proposed giving subsidies to plants in wholesale

By - Jim Vess

Where is U.S. Nuclear Heading?

By Jim Vess Pacific Gas & Electric just announced it will no longer seek extension of the operating licenses for the Diablo Canyon reactors. Instead choosing to shut Unit 1 down in 2024 and Unit 2 in 2025, when their current operating licenses expire. The utility plans to replace plant’s 2,240 MW output with a combination of renewable energy, efficiency

By - Jim Vess

Can a Wall of Ice Save Fukushima?

By Jim Vess No, I’m not talking about the giant ice wall to keep out marauding bands of wildlings in Game of Thrones or the plot of Frozen. Instead, I’m referring to Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) plan to use an underground wall of ice built around the damaged Fukushima-Daiichi reactors to help contain leakage of contaminated water into the

By - Jim Vess

Is Carbon Capture and Storage Technology Really Necessary?

By Jim Vess Today, electric generation from coal makes up about 35% of the total electric generation in the United States. Coal is abundant and inexpensive, but it’s dirty. Many utilities are finding it cheaper to retire older coal-fired plants than to upgrade them to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission requirements. Currently the

By - Michael Drost

Report: Cyber attack on power grid could cost $1 trillion

Energize Weekly, July 22, 2015 The damage from a hack on the U.S. power grid could cost the nation’s economy more than $1 trillion, according to a new report by insurance market Lloyd’s and the University of Cambridge. The report, titled “Business Blackout”, envisions a “plausible but extreme” scenario where part of the U.S. electrical grid between New York and

By - Michael Drost

Natural gas finally surpasses coal as biggest U.S. electricity source

Energize Weekly, July 15, 2015 Natural gas has overtaken coal as the top source of electric power generation for the first time in the U.S., according to SNL Energy, which looked at data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). According to SNL, the EIA’s June 25 Electric Power Monthly report showed 92,516 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity was produced

By - Michael Drost

Report: Ratemaking subsidies could imperil grid reliability

Energize Weekly, July 15, 2015 A new study released by the Electric Markets Research Foundation says that the concept of affordable and reliable electricity for all might be imperiled due to subsidized ratemaking policies like net-metering, and that failure to mitigate the unintended consequences of integrating distributed generation resources like microgrids and rooftop solar could create a two-tiered electricity system.

By - Michael Drost

Dynegy to exit California, eyes Ohio for future growth

Energize Weekly, July 15, 2015 Power plant behemoth Dynegy Inc says that it will likely exit renewable-heavy California in favor of greener pastures, or in its case the American Midwest, where it has spent $2.8 billion on coal and gas-fired plants just this year. “I will minimize any investment possible in the state of California because the business environment there

By - Michael Drost

Supreme Court blocks EPA MATS regulations on coal, oil-fired power plants

Energize Weekly, July 1, 2015 A narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked a landmark air quality rule this week, ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not properly considering the costs of the regulation before proposing it. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that the EPA improperly crafted its ambitious Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) rule,

By - Michael Drost

DOE report: U.S. energy grid needs major updates

Energize Weekly, May 6, 2015 The nation’s energy grid is old, too old, and will need some major policy and investment updates if we expect to have a secure energy future in the face of threats like cybersecurity and climate change, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Last month, the DOE released the first

By - Michael Drost

Will EPA’s Clean Power Plan Rule For Existing Power Plants Survive Legal Challenges?

By Martin E. Rock, P.E., J.D., LEED-AP President & Senior Principal, OMNI Professional Environmental EUCI Instructor On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its proposed Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. This proposed rule commonly referred to as the EPA’s proposed “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) or existing source performance standards

By - Michael Drost

Will the U.S. Supreme Court Vacate the MATS Rule?

By Martin Rock, P.E., J.D., LEED-AP President & Senior Principal OMNI Professional Environmental EUCI Instructor On November 25, 2014, The U.S. Supreme Court released an Order granting Petitions for Writ of Certiorari saying the Court will consider challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2012 mercury and air toxics emissions standards for power plants (MATS), which are among the most

By - Jim Vess

The Breeze isn’t Blowing as Strongly for Offshore Wind Development These Days

By Amber Rhodes Cape Wind, America’s first offshore wind farm (www.capewind.org) has been in the works for thirteen years. Thirteen years of data collection, demonstrations for, demonstrations against, US Army Corp of Engineers studies, federal and state reviews, budgeting and financing disagreements, and planning that may have just come to a screeching halt. Cape Wind has faced numerous challenges as

By - Jim Vess

In Spite of Continued Challenges, Commercial And Industrial Solar Development Still Going Strong in 2015

Some of the same issues that have dogged the development of solar power for years continue to follow it into 2015: The ability to store power when the sun is not shining has not yet become cost-effective and efficient. Materials to produce panels are more difficult to obtain and use in the manufacturing process. The efficiency of a solar panel

By - Michael Drost

What is LNG’s role in Hawaii’s power supply mix?

By Michael Drost Electricity customers in Hawaii are in a tough bind. Sure they have the warm beaches, friendly locals, and the inconceivably beautiful terrain, but that matters little when they also live on a densely populated, resource-scarce island chain that happens to be one of the most isolated places on earth. The result is a state that is almost

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. more information

By clicking Accept or closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. We use cookies during the registration process and to remember member settings.

Close