By - Michael Drost

Residential Solar: How One Company is Helping Utilities Navigate the Distributed Energy Revolution

Black said that the recent expansion of financing options has made solar PV customers much more diverse in terms of age, income, and education levels. “That used to be true [the idea solar ownership favors the wealthy]. It certainly was true,” he said. “Financing options have made that less true,” he said. No market demonstrates this shift better than California,

By - Michael Drost

California utilities propose net-metering reforms

Energize Weekly, August 5, 2015 California’s two biggest utilities urged state regulators to make sweeping changes to the way residential solar customers get compensated for returning excess energy to the grid, citing the improving economics of solar power along with the cost shifting effect of increasing distributed generation. “Solar is an essential part of our clean energy future,” said Anthony

By - Michael Drost

SPP bows out of Tres Amigas interconnection project

Energize Weekly, August 5, 2015 Tres Amigas, a $1.6 billion “SuperStation” project connecting three regional U.S. grids lost a key partner last week, after the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) decided to terminate an interconnection agreement between Tres Amigas and utility Southwestern Public Service Co (SPS), citing Tres Amigas’ inability to make payments or meet milestone agreements. According to Greentech Media,

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

Missouri regulators block Grain Belt Express

Energize Weekly, July 8, 2015 Missouri utility regulators voted to reject the route of a $2.2 billion multistate high-voltage transmission line that would bring wind energy from Kansas to the Midwest, saying the line was not necessary for Missouri ratepayers. In a 3-2 vote, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) questioned whether the 750-mile Grain Belt Express (GBE) transmission system

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

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