By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind and solar generation set to soar in 2021, as coal-fired and nuclear plants close

Energize Weekly, January 27, 2021 The U.S. electricity generation fleet will continue its transformation in 2021 with wind and solar dominating new installations and nuclear and coal-fired plants steadily being retired, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Power plant developers and utilities are planning for 39.7 gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity in 2021, with wind and solar

By - Jim Vess

Shearwater Energy developing SMR wind-hybrid energy project; selects NuScale Power

18 January 2021 Shearwater Energy Ltd., a United Kingdom-based hybrid clean energy company, is developing a wind-SMR (Small Modular Reactor) and hydrogen production hybrid energy project in North Wales. The project would provide 3 GWe of zero-carbon energy and is also expected to produce more than 3 million kilograms of green hydrogen per year for use by the UK’s transport sector, ensuring

By - Jim Vess

The countries leading the way in renewable energy

By Kristin Herman, January 20, 2021 Nowadays, many countries are looking into reducing the amount of fossil fuels that people use to power their homes, towns, cities, and so on. In fact, many people are expecting renewable energy to make fossil fuels a thing of the past, based on the progress being made in various countries today. While most countries

By - Jim Vess

Pritzker admin hires firm to verify Exelon’s nuke hardship claims

Steve Daniels, January 11, 2021 The Pritzker administration has hired an outside firm to scrutinize Exelon’s claims that some of its Illinois nuclear plants are losing money. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency early this month finalized a $215,000 emergency contract with Cambridge, Mass.-based Synapse Energy Economics. The firm, which has done work in the past for consumer advocates like the Illinois

By - Jim Vess

117th Congress opens to new energy, environment fights

Nick Sobczyk, Geof Koss and Kelsey Brugger, E&E News reporters; Monday, January 4, 2021 The 117th Congress opened to an uncertain political landscape yesterday, with a tight vote for the House speakership and with Senate control still up in the air. Lawmakers face fresh fights on energy and environmental issues, particularly climate change, but first they have to get through the political and logistical

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy installed major rooftop solar system at Keck Observatory in Hawaii

Published on December 31, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski Duke Energy’s REC Solar completed the world’s largest commercial solar system installed at the highest altitude. The rooftop solar project is at the W. M. Keck Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii, located near the summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The installation is at

By - Jim Vess

Report Calls for Electricity Sector to Rethink Approach to Climate Change Risks

January 5, 2021 – Homeland Security Today A new report from the Columbia Law School and Environmental Defense Fund highlights climate change risks in the electricity sector. The authors – Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil, and Sarah Ladin – say electric system operators must rethink their approach to infrastructure protection and recovery. Read more

By - Jim Vess

SolarWinds Hack Infected Critical Infrastructure, Including Power Industry

Kim Zetter, December 24 2020   The hacking campaign that infected numerous government agencies and tech companies with malicious SolarWinds software has also infected more than a dozen critical infrastructure companies in the electric, oil, and manufacturing industries who were also running the software, according to a security firm conducting investigations of some of the breaches.   Read more

By - Jim Vess

Ohio Supreme Court stops collection of nuclear plant subsidy

Associated Press, December 28, 2020   The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday issued a temporary stay to stop collection of a fee from nearly every electric customer in the state starting Jan. 1 to subsidize two nuclear power plants, a provision included in a scandal-tainted bill approved by the state Legislature in July 2019. The order signed by Chief Justice

By - Jim Vess

5 Reasons Why Solar Energy is the Way Forward

By Michael Dehoyos, December 29, 2020 There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about global warming and trying to find sustainable energy sources that don’t impact the planet in a negative way like the fossil fuel industry has been doing for years. We have wind and water technology, but by far, the greatest source of energy

By - Jim Vess

After two bad years, global coal demand is set for a 2021 rebound, IEA says

Energize Weekly, December 30, 2020 Coal demand slipped an estimated 5 percent in 2020 – the largest annual decline since the Second World War – but the fuel is projected to rebound in 2021 on demand from China and Asia, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The 2020 decline follows a 1.8 percent drop in coal demand in 2019,

By - Jim Vess

Solar site to power Arkansas water utility OK’d

by Joseph Flaherty | December 17, 2020 at 3:43 a.m. Arkansas utility regulators Wednesday approved a plan to develop a 4.8-megawatt net-metering solar facility near Cabot to provide renewable energy to the regional water utility Central Arkansas Water. The solar facility is expected to go online in mid-2021 and will be able to satisfy approximately 20% of Central Arkansas Water’s current energy

By - Jim Vess

Judge Blocks Fees Set by Tainted Ohio Nuclear Bailout Law

By Associated Press, Wire Service Content Dec. 21, 2020, at 5:33 p.m. A central Ohio judge on Monday blocked the subsidies from a $1 billion nuclear bailout law at the center of a $60 million bribery probe, as state lawmakers scrambled to decide the fate of a repeal effort and nominees were chosen to succeed a utility regulator who resigned amid the investigation. Read

By - Jim Vess

U.S solar rebounds from pandemic decline, renewable investment remains strong worldwide

Energize Weekly, December 23, 2020 The U.S. solar industry – led by utility-scale projects – rebounded in the third quarter from its midyear pandemic doldrums, according to an industry market report by consultant Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Solar’s performance is part of a broader trend showing the strong performance of renewable generation in the face

By - Jim Vess

Coal continues its decline in the U.S. and Europe and its rise in Southeast Asia and India

Energize Weekly, December 9, 2020 Coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation in the U.S. and Europe continues to decline, but in Asia, coal-fired demand is projected to increase through 2030 thanks to national policies and Chinese financing. In the U.S., coal mine production capacity fell in 2019 to 590 million short tons – a 28 percent decline from the peak

By - Jim Vess

Renewable energy has a strong showing in 2020 despite a pandemic-hobbled economy

Energize Weekly, November 18, 2020 The novel coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the global economy and the energy industry, but renewable energy generation set records in 2020, according to two analyses. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that new, installed renewable generation worldwide set a record, as did the amount of renewable electricity generate and auctioned renewable capacity.

By - Jim Vess

Voters weigh in on local and state energy issues from renewable energy to oil and gas taxes

Energize Weekly, November 11, 2020 Election returns on state and local energy issues were both literally and figuratively all over the map last week on issues ranging from renewable energy to oil and gas taxes. Voters in Alaska rejected a tax on oil operations while the industry was denied a tax break in Louisiana. Columbus, Ohio, voters backed a plan

By - Jim Vess

A Biden plan would speed a clean energy transition, but have limited impact on oil

Energize Weekly, October 28, 2020 As Election Day nears, analysts are starting to focus on what the administration of front-running Joe Biden will mean for energy and find it could accelerate the decline of coal, stabilize near-term oil markets, as well as boost renewables and new jobs. A Biden administration, despite its avowed aim of banning new oil development on

By - Jim Vess

Fossil fuel demand drops in 2020 with a limited rebound in 2021, IEA says

Energize Weekly, October 21, 2020 The global pandemic will cut worldwide energy demand 5 percent in 2020 and result in an 18 percent decline in energy investment, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts. If the novel coronavirus is brought under control in 2021, energy demand will return to its pre-crisis level by the end of the year – if

By - Jim Vess

Corporate solar had another banner year in 2019 with 1.2 GW of new installations

Energize Weekly, October 14, 2020 Corporate solar generating capacity continued its rapid growth in 2019 with nearly 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity – a 10 percent year-on-year increase, according to a survey by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). There is now a total of 8.3 GW of corporate solar capacity at 38,000 sites in 43 states, with 50

By - Jim Vess

Utilities are pledging zero-carbon emissions, but “the math doesn’t yet add up”

Energize Weekly, September 30, 2020 A growing number of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) have pledged to sharply reduce their carbon emissions or even cut them to zero, but two studies have found a gap between the pledges and those utilities’ performance. Forty-three of the country’s 55 IOUs have emission-reduction targets, and 22 have net-zero or carbon-free electricity goals, according to a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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