By - Michael Drost

Austin Energy bids reveal new frontier for solar growth

Energize Weekly, July 8, 2015 Austin Energy’s recent call for solar power contract solicitations, which saw offers for almost 1,300 megawatts of projects priced below 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, shows that solar power is entering a new frontier: one in which the value of solar is consistently and persistently beating that of competing energy sources, which will no doubt lead

By - Michael Drost

Solar being undervalued by utilities: report

Energize Weekly, July 1, 2015 Rooftop solar owners may be getting under-compensated for the benefits their systems provide to the electricity grid, according to a new report by environmental advocacy group Environment America. According to the report, which reviewed 11 net metering studies analyzing the value of solar, the median value of solar power was about 17 cents per kilowatt-hour

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

New York utilities embrace REV

Energize Weekly, July 1, 2015 A slew of New York utilities, including National Grid, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, and Iberdrola have announced new projects and initiatives to meet or exceed goals outlined in the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), which aims to modernize New York’s grid by increasing the competitiveness of renewable energy resources and by giving customers

By - Michael Drost

Minnesota OKs industrial customer rate changes, net-metering fees

Energize Weekly, June 24, 2015 Large industrial customers in Minnesota will soon get a rate break while municipal utilities and co-ops can start charging solar customers to use the electricity grid, according to a new comprehensive energy bill signed into law last week. The legislation would allow large industrial customers, including steel mills, paper mills, and mining companies to apply

By - Michael Drost

MISO: No shortfall after all

Energize Weekly, June 24, 2015 The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) is no longer predicting an energy shortfall next year, and should even have enough supplies to last through 2020, according to its latest survey of the Organization of MISO States. The survey predicts a minimum 1.7 gigawatt (GW) surplus in 2016, with sufficient zonal surpluses to offset shortfalls through

By - Michael Drost

NRG Energy building 20MW solar facility for Cisco Systems

Energize Weekly, June 24, 2015 NRG Renew, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, will build a 20 megawatt (MW) solar facility to power the headquarters of tech giant Cisco Systems, according to officials at both companies. Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Renew, said that the company will convert its NRG Solar Blythe II location, which has been under

By - Michael Drost

Residential solar market grew 76 percent in first quarter 2015: report

Energize Weekly, June 17, 2015 The U.S. residential solar market had its best quarter ever during the first three months 2015, installing a record 437 megawatts (MW) of solar and growing 11 percent over fourth quarter 2014, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. According to figures in its latest US Solar

By - Michael Drost

Senate subcommittee chairman blasts Clean Line as comment period is extended

Energize Weekly, June 17, 2015 The chairman of a key U.S. Senate Energy subcommittee blasted the $2 billion Clean Line project last week, asking the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to withhold approval of a construction path and questioning the need for the 700-mile transmission line altogether. “The project proposes to fill a need that is not present at this

By - Michael Drost

ITC completes Thumb Loop transmission project

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder praised the Thumb Loop project in a statement, citing its benefits in saving money for ratepayers as well as developing renewable energy in the state. “The Thumb Loop has been a good investment for Michigan. It has allowed us to expand our agricultural processing abilities and allowed us to add low-cost renewable energy to our grid

By - Michael Drost

Tech Companies Banking on Green Data Centers

(Google’s Douglas County Data Center in Georgia) “Because energy is a large operating expense at Google, it is beneficial to power the data centers with low-cost wind power,” says Gary Demasi, Google’s Director of Operations, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy. According to Demasi, the PPAs provide Google with an opportunity to lock in lower costs as a hedge against

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

Winter efficiency programs saved New England ratepayers $1.5 billion: Report

Energize Weekly, April 22, 2015 Energy efficiency programs lowered New England electricity bills by 24 percent this past winter, saving the equivalent output of two large nuclear plants, according to a new report by the energy advocate group Acadia Center. The report says that investments in efficiency since 2000 helped lower demand by nearly 14 percent from January to March

By - Michael Drost

Microgrids Take Utilities by Storm

The business opportunity of microgrid technology has not gone unnoticed by those who currently control most of the nation’s energy grid. Though 51 percent of utility executives believe microgrids will adversely affect their revenue, according to a data compiled by Accenture, many in the utilities industry see opportunity. “Rather than view microgrids as new competitors to traditional electricity distribution utilities,

By - Michael Drost

Regulators say EPA carbon reduction plan could threaten reliability

Energize Weekly, April 8, 2015 State regulators and utility executives told federal officials last week that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon reduction rule, or Clean Power Plan, requires too much compliance too fast and could threaten electric reliability and affordability up and down the Midwest. Regulators from Indiana, North Dakota, and Texas three states currently engaged in a

By - Michael Drost

Don’t fear the reaper: How hybrid solar and battery systems are transforming our electricity grid, and why that’s not a bad thing

By Michael Drost Solar industry advocates have been clamoring for years that improvements in photovoltaic (PV) generation and storage technology will someday make traditional power generation obsolete. Instead of plugging into the grid, they claim, customers will simply be able to drive to a local Home Depot or Leows, order and install a few solar panels and storage devices for

By - Michael Drost

Ontario Energy Storage: All of the Above Please

By Michael Drost Every now and then, industries go through a “eureka” moment when confronted with an emerging trend: the point in time when a concept previously regarded as “not quite there” suddenly becomes a key driver in that industry’s future. Once upon a time, the concept of streaming music over the internet wasn’t seen as critical to the music

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