By - Jim Vess

Retired coal-fired power plant site to be turned into $650 million transmission facility for offshore wind

Energize Weekly, May 22, 2019 The site of a former Massachusetts coal-fired power plant is slated to be turned into a $650 million relay for electricity produced offshore, according to energy developer Anbaric. The Anbaric Renewable Energy Center, built on the site of the old Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, will have a 1,200-megawatt (MW), high-voltage, direct-current (HDVC) converter

By - Jim Vess

Wind developers rush to get project in the pipeline before federal tax credits end in 2020

Energize Weekly, May 22, 2019 Wind farm projects are forecast to swell in 2019 as developers look to get their projects in the pipeline before federal tax credits vanish, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA is projecting that wind projects will double over 2017 to 12.7 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2018, making the second biggest

By - Jim Vess

Global renewable energy generation additions stalled in 2018 for the first time in 17 years

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 The nearly two-decade, year-on-year growth in global renewable energy generating capacity stalled in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The 180 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity—in wind, photovoltaic (PV) solar, hydro, bioenergy and other renewable sources—added in 2018 was about the same as in 2017. It was the first time there wasn’t a

By - Jim Vess

Electricity demand to be down this summer, coal’s share expected to drop, EIA says

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 Summer electricity generation in 2019 is forecast to be down 2 percent from last summer to 1,168 million megawatt-hours (MWh) with a sharp drop in how much of that power is provided by coal-fired plants. The energy mix for the summer highlights the ongoing shift in the generating portfolio with coal dropping 3 percent since

By - Jim Vess

Global utility M&A lags in Q1 of 2019 with renewable energy deals a bright spot

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 Power and utility sector mergers and acquisitions worldwide dropped to their lowest level since 2012 in the first quarter of 2019, but industry executives remain positive about deals for the year, according to a survey by Ernst & Young (E&Y). The value of first-quarter deals was $20.6 billion, down 80 percent from the record $97

By - Jim Vess

Renewable generation set to surpass coal-fired generation for April and May

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 Renewable energy generation in April and May will put more electricity on the gird than coal-fired power plants, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). It is the first time on record that renewable power sources—hydro, biomass, wind, solar and geothermal—have surpassed coal-fired generation, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said.

By - Jim Vess

Texas Renewable Energy Co-op gets wholesale bids at less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 The Texas Renewable Energy Co-op (TREC) has received wholesale electricity bids for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour on 12-year contracts for its public non-profit participants, such as municipal and state agencies. The bidding process was managed by the Texas Energy Aggregation (TEA), which was created in 2002 to improve market power for universities, cities,

By - Jim Vess

Montana legislative effort to prop up the coal-fired Colstrip power plant stalls

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 Last-minute efforts to bail out the Colstrip coal-fired power plant and keep it running stalled in the Montana legislature as the session ended April 26. The Colstrip bill was defeated in the Montana House of Representatives April 16 on a 60-to-37 vote. The Republican sponsors then tried to find a home for elements of the

By - Jim Vess

MidAmerican Energy sets one-day record for wind energy, covers all of retail demand

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 MidAmerican Energy hit a one-day record for wind generation in April, producing enough electricity to serve 100 percent of its retail customers’ needs with renewable energy. The Des Moines-based utility—which serves 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois—generated 11,500 megawatt-hours (MWh) on April 10, 8.5 percent better than its previous record for wind

By - Jim Vess

Massachusetts approves first offshore wind project south of Martha’s Vineyard

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 Massachusetts’s first offshore in project, two 400-megawatt (MW) installations in an area south of Martha’s Vineyard, has been given a green light by state regulators. The project by Vineyard Wind, which will sell its electricity to four distribution utilities, was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The DPU found that the projects

By - Jim Vess

Coal plant closure moving west into areas with strong renewable energy resources, says BTU Analytics

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 The battle over coal-fired power plants and renewable energy is moving west, according to analyses by BTU Analytics, a Lakewood, Colo.-based energy consultant. About 81 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity has been closed at 696 units at 360 plants since 2008. In the early years, most of the closures were in the East. “Those retirements were

By - Jim Vess

Small, net-meter wind turbine capacity growth led by a tripling in the Northeast

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 Small wind turbines—at homes, farms and businesses—have increasingly been plugging into the grid and getting paid for the electricity they put on the wires—with the fastest growth in the Northeast. Net metering, which enables homeowners and commercial customers to be credited for electricity they put on the gird, has been one of the financial incentives

By - Jim Vess

Western states move on clean energy and carbon emissions reductions

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 A push for clean electricity is sweeping western states with a burst of activity last week as Washington and Nevada adopted new standards and Colorado moved closer to approving a 100 percent net-zero-carbon target for 2050. California last September set a net-zero-carbon target by 2045. In March, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind installations up in 4Q of 2018 with total capacity for the year at 96,488 MW

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 A total of 5,944 megawatts (MW) of wind turbines were installed in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2018, the third highest quarter on record, bringing total installed capacity for the year to 96,488 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A big driver was corporate and non-utility wind procurement, which set

By - Jim Vess

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power sets a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, has set a goal of reaching 100 percent carbon-free generation by 2025 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Green Mountain, which serves 264,000 customers or about 40 percent of the state, is already 90 percent carbon-free, getting the bulk of its electricity from hydropower and a power purchase

By - Jim Vess

U.S. hit a record for energy consumption in 2018 led by increases in oil and natural gas

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 The United States hit a record high 101.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) for primary energy consumption in 2018—surpassing by three-tenths of a percent the previous high in 2007, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Energy consumption was up 4 percent from 2017. It was the largest annual increase in terms of percentage

By - Jim Vess

Climate-driven weather events pose a risk to municipal bonds, commercial real estate and utilities, BlackRock says

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 Among the economic threats posed by climate change are risks to municipal bonds, commercial real estate investments and the utility sector, according to an analysis by BlackRock and the Rhodium Group. “Our work with Rhodium Group shows a rising share of U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) will likely be hit by climate change in the coming decades,”

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

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