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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most regions can adapt to coal and nuclear plant closures, not the West and Central Plains, NERC says

Energize Weekly, December 26, 2018 The rapid retirement of coal-fired and nuclear power plants can be absorbed by most of the nation, but could stress grids in the Central Plains, Southwest, Rocky Mountain region and the coastal Southeast, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC). NERC, the non-profit regulatory authority overseeing electric reliability in the U.S. and Canada,

By - Jim Vess

U.S. grid unprepared for a catastrophic power outage, says federal infrastructure panel

Energize Weekly, December 19, 2018 The plans to protect and respond to a U.S. grid power failure would be “outmatched” by a catastrophic outage, according to a study by the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). The council, which advises the president, recommended a series of initiatives, ranging from action by the National Security Council to hardening distribution lines to homes.

By - Jim Vess

Demand response programs providing U.S. utilities with 18.3 gigawatts of capacity

Energize Weekly, November 28, 2018 The demand response programs of the major U.S. utilities, designed to reduce peak demand, tallied 18.3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2017, with more than half of it dispatchable, according to an industry survey. The 2018 Utility Demand Response Market Snapshot, which covers 155 utilities, with about 62 percent of the country’s utility customers, was

By - Jim Vess

AEP’s $33 billion capital improvement plan focuses on transmission and distribution

Energize Weekly, November 21, 2018 American Electric Power (AEP) is planning to invest $33 billion in capital projects between 2019 and 2023 with three-quarters of the money focused on transmission and distribution, the company said. The company will also spend $2.7 billion on renewable generation and another $2.2 billion on competitively bid contracted renewable projects. “AEP’s capital investments over the

By - Jim Vess

PJM could face reliability risks in early 2020s if more coal and nuclear generation is retired

Energize Weekly, November 7, 2018 The PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest grid, can manage the announced closures of coal and nuclear plants even in the face of severe weather—but with the loss of additional generation, “the system may be at risk.” The assessment comes from the PJM’s Fuel Security Analysis released Nov. 1, which was done as its grid, which

By - Jim Vess

High temperatures, fuel constraints pushed western electricity prices to a 10-year high this summer

Energize Weekly, October 3, 2018 High temperatures and tight fuel supplies pushed wholesale electricity prices in the western U.S. to their highest levels since 2008, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Temperatures were warmer than normal across the West. Portland, Ore., for example, posted 29 days of temperatures higher than 90 degrees from the beginning of June through

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage market up 60 percent over last year in second quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 The U.S. energy storage market added 61.8 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter of 2018, a 42 percent increase over the first quarter, as demand for customer-owned batteries continued to grow, according to the Wood Mackenzie U.S. Energy Storage Monitor. Market growth year-over-year was up 60 percent, “thanks in large part to strong growth in

By - Jim Vess

PG&E battery project hits snag as it draws consumer and business protests

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s (PG&E) battery program, which would be the world’s largest, has run into opposition from a California consumer advocate, and industrial and commercial customers. The California Office of Ratepayer Advocates and the Direct Access Customer Coalition, which represents “commercial, industrial and governmental customers who have opted for direct access for some

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State G&T co-ops pressure for lower prices and more renewables

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves 43 electric cooperatives in four Western states, is getting pressure from some of its co-ops, which are seeking better electricity prices and more renewable energy. The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, in Taos, New Mexico, has already paid $37 million to get out of its Tri-State contract, and several

By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy offers a $918 million grid modernization plan to Virginia regulators

Energize Weekly, August 1, 2018 Dominion Energy has submitted a $918 million plan to modernize its Virginia grid to state regulators following passage of a new law overhauling utility oversight and investment. The plan seeks to install 1.4 million “smart meters” between 2019 and 2021. An additional 600,000 smart meters would be installed by 2023. A total of 3 gigawatts

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

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

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

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

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

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 - 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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