By - Jim Vess

NREL study finds western grid held up as it lost 5.5 gigawatts of generation during solar eclipse

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 The western grid solar energy output dropped by nearly 5.5 gigawatts (GW) during last August’s solar eclipse, but the loss did not have a great impact on grid operations or costs, according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “The 2017 total solar eclipse came and went without causing any issues to

By - Jim Vess

NV Energy $2 billion solar program hinges on November “energy choice” ballot measure

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 NV Energy announced a $2 billion plan to add more than 1 gigawatt of utility-scale solar and battery storage projects, but said the investment depends upon whether Nevada voters support an “energy choice” ballot measure in the fall. On June 1, NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, submitted a plan to the Nevada

By - Jim Vess

New York State embarks on a $250 million statewide EV charging station expansion

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 New York State has launched a $250 million expansion plan for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and infrastructure with the aim of having 10,000 stations in place by 2021. The program—EVolve NY—will include initiatives by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and private sector partnerships through 2025 to accelerate the adoption of EVs. “New York

By - Jim Vess

Xcel proposes a $2.5 billion plan to reorient its Colorado market to wind, solar and storage

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electricity provider, submitted a plan to state regulators June 6 seeking to invest $2.5 billion in wind, solar and energy storage projects while closing two coal-fired power plants. The proposed Colorado Energy Plan (CEP) would add 1,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power, 700 MW of solar resources and 225 MW of

By - Jim Vess

What are Key Accounts?

Energize Weekly, June 6, 2018 Wallace L. Barron, President, Barron & Associates, Corporate Solutions, LLC. The utility industry, along with other major industries, is undergoing never before experienced and rapid changes to their marketplaces. Those changes are driven by such things as technology and changing customer demographics along with changing customer needs, wants and expectations about doing business with your

By - Jim Vess

High levels of wind and solar on the power grid could lower wholesale electric prices

Energize Weekly, June 6, 2018 High levels of wind and solar on regional power grids can decrease electric wholesale prices by $5 to $16 a megawatt-hour (MWh), according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy (VRE) can affect wholesale electricity price patterns and make them meaningfully different from past, traditional price patterns,” the

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

New Englanders used more grid electricity while sleeping than at noon on a sunny, mild April day

Energize Weekly, June 6, 2018 In a regional first, on a mild, sunny April day, New Englanders used more electricity from the grid while they were sleeping than they did at midday, according to grid operator ISO New England (ISO-NE). The game changer on April 21 was the 2,400 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity in the region, most of which

By - Jim Vess

Carbon pricing growing around the world as a way to cut emissions, World Bank says

Energize Weekly, June 6, 2018 The use of carbon pricing mechanisms by countries and regions, as a way to control greenhouse gas emissions, has tripled in the past decade and is poised to be more widely used in the coming years, according to the World Bank. Seventy jurisdictions—45 nations, 25 sub-national entities such as states, provinces and cities—have implemented or

By - Jim Vess

Energy sector employment grew in 2017, led by natural gas generation and energy efficiency jobs

Energize Weekly, May 30, 2018 U.S. energy sector employment increased by 2 percent to 6.5 million jobs in 2017. While power generation posted big numbers, energy efficiency and biofuels were the fastest-growing areas, according to a report by the National Association of State Energy Officials. The U.S. Energy Employment Report, based on federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data and direct

By - Jim Vess

PJM capacity auction sees renewables, coal and natural gas rise while nuclear plummets

Energize Weekly, May 30, 2018 PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest grid, saw prices jump more than 80 percent to $140 a megawatt-day across most of its grid in the annual capacity market auction. But even with the hike, many nuclear power plants couldn’t successfully bid. The price increase was expected as a result of lower prices in energy markets, which

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

Buses and trucks ready to roll as the next big electric vehicle markets

Energize Weekly, May 30, 2018 When it comes to electrical vehicles (EV), the focus has been on cars from Chevrolet’s Bolt EV to Tesla’s Model S, but the future of the EV market may rest with buses and trucks, according to new studies and initiatives. By 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that 84 percent of all municipal bus sales

By - Jim Vess

Regional grid operators brace for summer peak demand as hot weather is forecast

Energize Weekly, May 23, 2018 Regional grid operators are bracing for a hotter-than-normal summer, but say they are prepared to meet peak demand. PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest grid, covering parts of the mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest, said it expects a summer peak of 150,000 megawatts (MW) as the National Weather Service is predicting above-normal temperatures in the District

By - Jim Vess

The world faces an air conditioning energy crunch, the IEA says

Energize Weekly, May 23, 2018 The world could face a “cold crunch” as electricity demand for air conditioning is projected to triple by 2050—unless steps are taken to make cooling technology more efficient, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report. Air conditioners (AC) and electric fans already account for 10 percent of all global energy consumption. If there is

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

Renewable energy jobs grow worldwide, but remain concentrated in a few countries

Energize Weekly, May 16, 2018 Renewable energy employment around the world grew by 5.3 percent in 2017 to 10.3 million direct and indirect jobs, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The strongest growth was in the solar photovoltaic (PV) and bioenergy sectors. There was a slight drop in jobs in the wind energy industry. Overall, there were 3.37

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

Global wind market set to grow 4 percent a year through 2027

Energize Weekly, May 9, 2018 Annual global wind power capacity additions are projected to average more than 65 gigawatts (GW) between 2018 and 2027, according to renewable energy consultant MAKE. That is equal to a 4 percent compounded growth rate, Aarhus, Denmark-based MAKE said in its first quarter market report. Tax supports in the U.S., a resurgent auction market in

By - Jim Vess

More than $8 billion in solar deals already announced in 2018, kWh Analytics says

Energize Weekly, May 9, 2018 Solar acquisitions and asset-financing deals worth more than $8 billion have already been made in 2018, according to the kWh Analytics Spring DealFlow report. The solar services and risk management consultant logged 36 projects since the start of 2018, including 17 asset transactions and 19 asset-financing deals. Only 21 projects disclosed the dollar value of

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

Corporate purchases of renewable power were strong in 2017, and 2018 is off to a good start

Energize Weekly, May 2, 2018 Corporate renewable energy purchases reached 2.78 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, on 28 deals, second only to 2015’s 3.2 GW, according to Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center. The market continues to look strong with 19 deals for 1.96 GW already signed in 2018, according to the center’s State of the Market report. The largest purchasers

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

U.S. DOE to fund $105.5 million in photovoltaic and concentrating solar research projects

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $105.5 million round of funding for solar energy research, development and grid integration projects on April 17. DOE will fund about 70 projects to advance both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technologies through its Solar Energy Technologies Office. “American ingenuity is the

By - Jim Vess

Xcel gets federal approval to inspect transmission lines and infrastructure using drones

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 Xcel Energy has received the first approval in the country from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the ongoing use of drones to inspect transmission lines and infrastructure in Colorado, according to the company. FAA granted Xcel the okay to use unmanned drones, weighing less than 55 pounds, on a stretch of line 20 miles

By - Jim Vess

Wind industry taking hold in red states in the U.S. heartland in 2017

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 The wind industry is having a big impact on red heartland states and rural economies, according to data from the annual report from the industry trade group, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A total of 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind capacity was added in the U.S. in 2017, about 13 percent of the

By - Jim Vess

Cities growing solar generating capacity, survey finds

Energize Weekly, April 18, 2018 The installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays is growing in cities across the country—especially in sunny ones, according a survey by the non-profit Colorado Environmental Policy Center. “As of the end of 2017, 20 cities—representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area—accounted for over 4 percent of U.S. solar PV capacity,” the survey said. “These

By - Jim Vess

Investment rises in repowering old wind farms to get tax credits, cut costs and boost output

Energize Weekly, April 18, 2018 Wind farms across the country are getting a makeover as rising costs, declining production and the spur of tax credits is leading to the repowering of projects built as far back as the 1990s, according to federal data and market studies. A study by the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colo., projects

By - Jim Vess

Southwest Power Pool sets a record for wind generation in the wee hours on March 31

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 In the early hours of March 31, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) set a new wind penetration record with 62 percent of the load being served by wind generation. Wind turbines accounted for 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of the 23.2 GW load for the regional transmission organization (RTO), which operates a market that stretches across all

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

Electricity poised to provide as much as half of all energy in U.S. by 2050, EPRI says

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 Electricity supplies 21 percent of all the energy used in the U.S. and that share is projected to rise to about a third to half of all energy by 2050, according to an assessment by the non-profit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). “The economic potential for elec­trification is compelling in many applications, yet realizing this

By - Jim Vess

U.S. solar employment saw its first recorded decline in 2017, The Solar Foundation says

Energize Weekly, April 4, 2018 The solar industry lost jobs in 2017—seeing a 3.8 percent decline equal to 9,800 positions—for the first time since employment statistics were tracked in 2010 by the non-profit The Solar Foundation, the group said in its annual Solar Jobs Census. The foundation saw a host of reasons for the decline, including a slowdown in activity

By - Jim Vess

Foreign solar panel makers and American installers seek to be excluded from Trump solar tariff

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 More than 80 foreign solar cell and module manufactures and American companies using imported solar products are seeking exclusions from the Trump administration solar import tariff, according to filings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The arguments made by the applicants, based on a review of the filings, generally fall within three categories:

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

Markets with high levels of renewable generation show ways to maintain grid stability

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 As wind and solar generation grow, so too have questions about their impact on the reliability and resiliency of the grid. However, a study of markets around world with high levels of renewables has identified keys to keep the systems up and running. The question of grid resiliency gained added heft when U.S. Secretary of

By - Jim Vess

Trump administration tariff to cut US solar market by 13 percent, prices already on the rise

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on solar cells and modules will cut installations by 13 percent between 2018 and 2022 compared to previous projections, according to GTM Research. A total of 10.6 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity was installed in 2017. Installations in 2018 are expected to be the same. It won’t be until 2023 before

By - Jim Vess

Southwest Power Pool approves terms for western utilities to join its wholesale market

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) board of directors on March 13 approved the terms for utilities and transmission operators from eight Western states to join their wholesale electricity market. The proposal deals with issues of cost sharing, governance, operations and, in a number of areas, gives the Mountain West Transmission Group region some separate consideration

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy gets the OK from Colorado PUC to develop a clean power plan

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted on March 14 to give Xcel Energy the go-ahead to develop a plan to close two coal-fired power plants and replace them with renewable or low-cost alternatives. Xcel calls its proposal the Clean Energy Plan (CEP). It would more than double the utility’s amount of electricity from renewable

By - Jim Vess

U.S. storage set to double in 2018 as market to reach 50,000 megawatts in the future

Energize Weekly, March 14, 2018 The prospects for the U.S. battery storage market, both short and long term, appear strong with capacity doubling in 2018 and reaching as high as 50,000 megawatts (MW), according to new analyses. In 2018, 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage is set to be deployed, nearly equal to the 1,080 MWh deployed between 2013 and 2017,

By - Jim Vess

Flexibility & Resiliency in Design for a Smart Feature-Filled Streetscape

By Sandra Scanlon Walk into any given Starbucks across the country, and you’ll probably notice that the majority of patrons have their faces buried in an electronic device. Whether it is a cellular phone, laptop or tablet, we are a 24/7 connected society through myriad forms of technology all around us. As we start to design infrastructure that supports our

By - Jim Vess

EU renewable generation is dominated by Germany and the UK, Eastern Europe hangs on to coal

Energize Weekly, March 7, 2018 Renewable generation has overtaken coal-fired plants in the European Union, providing 30 percent of its electricity, but the growth of renewables has been uneven in the 28-nation bloc with coal hanging on in Eastern Europe. Since 2000, renewable generation has more than doubled and the combination of wind, solar and biomass accounted for more generation

By - Jim Vess

A record number of electric vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2017 as states push new programs and policies

Energize Weekly, March 7, 2018 A record number of electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the U.S. in 2017, and 43 states took a wide range of EV policy initiatives, including financial incentives, special customer rates and building charging infrastructure, according to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. In its annual review of state-based EV policies and actions, the center,

By - Jim Vess

Renewables can meet 80 percent of nation’s needs, getting beyond is expensive, study says

Energize Weekly, March 3, 2018 Wind and solar generation could meet up to 80 percent of U.S. electricity demand—but going beyond that toward all-renewable electricity could require trillions of dollars of investment in transmission, generation and storage, according to a new study. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine

By - Jim Vess

Florida Power & Light to add “cutting-edge” battery technology to boost solar output

Energize Weekly, February 28, 2018 Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) said it is adding “cutting-edge” storage technology to a utility-scale solar facility that will boost output by half-a-million kilowatt-hours a year. FPL, the nation’s third-largest electric utility with five million customers, said that the integration of the DC-coupled battery array is believed to be the first large-scale application of

By - Jim Vess

Chinese solar imports flooded the U.S market ahead of Trump administration solar tariff

Energize Weekly, February 28, 2018 Anticipating Trump administration tariffs on solar panels, a surge of Chinese imports hit the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Chinese imports for the quarter were 11 times higher than for the first nine months of the year. Imports for the quarter were a little more than

By - Jim Vess

Court ruling on methane comes from one of 60 climate lawsuits filed against Trump administration

Energize Weekly, February 28, 2018 Trump administration efforts to roll back methane controls on oil and gas operations were blocked by a federal court ruling last week in one of the 60 lawsuits filed against the administration on climate change issues. On Feb. 22, Judge William Orrick, in the U.S. Northern District of California, granted a preliminary injunction against the

By - Jim Vess

Trump solar tariffs draw challenges from around the globe

Energize Weekly, February 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on imported solar cells and modules are drawing fire from around the world. In the latest challenge, three Canadian companies—Ontario-based Silfab Solar Inc., Heliene Inc. and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., along with U.S.-based distributor Canadian Solar (USA) Inc.—filed a complaint with the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York on

By - Jim Vess

Utility trade organization and environmental group team up on policies to spur clean energy

Energize Weekly, February 21, 2018 Politics may make strange bedfellows, but apparently, so can the utility business as the environmental group, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the industry trade group, teamed up on 21 policy recommendations to bolster clean energy and a modern grid. The recommendations include supporting energy efficiency programs, a transition to

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