By - Jim Vess

July EV sales plunge as China cuts subsidies, but rebound is likely in Q4

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 After a sharp decline in electric vehicle (EV) sales in July – the first drop in 30 months – Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) cut its sales forecast for the year by 6 percent to 1.5 million vehicles. EV sales in July were down nearly 7 percent compared with July 2018 and 51 percent from

By - Jim Vess

Solar power contract prices are falling to record lows, but also gathering some risk

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Portugal’s first photovoltaic (PV) solar auction has led to a record low-cost contract of $16.54 a megawatt-hour (MWh), narrowly besting the previous record, a recent Brazilian power purchase agreement (PPA) for $16.95 a MWh. “With the levelized cost of utility-scale PV in Southern Europe now well below current wholesale power prices, investors have flocked to

By - Jim Vess

Residential energy storage set to grow fivefold in Europe, Wood Mackenzie says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The annual pace of residential energy storage in Europe is set to double in the next six years with total of 6.6 gigawatts of capacity on the continent by 2024 – a fivefold increase from 2018, according to a Wood Mackenzie analysis. Annual deployments are projected to reach 500 megawatts with 1.2 gigawatt-hours of storage

By - Jim Vess

July heat wave drove peak electricity demand to two-year high in the East and Midwest

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 Electricity demand during the July heat wave that covered the Midwest and Atlantic coast led to the highest electricity peak – 704 gigawatts (GW) – in two years, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The heat wave, which also brought high humidity, extended from July 15 to July 22, and the peak demand

By - Jim Vess

Nearly half of U.S. utilities filed rate cases in 2018, most of them seeking rate increases

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 Almost half of the major U.S. electric utilities filed rate cases with state regulators in 2018 – the highest number since 1983 – with nearly 90 percent seeking rate increases, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The rate increase requests were driven mainly by increased spending on electricity transmission and delivery. In the

By - Jim Vess

ABB is paying $470 million for Fimer to take its inverter business off its hands

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Zurich-based ABB is paying $470 million to unload its solar inverter business to Italian solar inverter maker Fimer Spa, as price pressures dog the market. ABB said it will take an after-tax nonoperational charge of $470 million with about 75 percent going to Fimer as a cash payment. ABB said it will pay Fimer from

By - Jim Vess

Utility-scale battery storage capacity has grown fourfold since 2014 to 899 megawatts

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 Utility-scale battery storage capacity has grown more than fourfold since the end of 2014, reaching 899 megawatts (MW) by March 2019, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). If currently planned projects are completed and no capacity is retired, storage could exceed 2,500 MW by 2023. The EIA defines a utility-scale project as one

By - Jim Vess

Renewable generation temporarily overtakes coal-fired generation in April, the EIA says

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 Renewable electricity generation surpassed coal-fired generation for the first time in April, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Renewable generation accounted for 23 percent of electricity generation in April compared to 20 percent for coal. “This outcome reflects both seasonal factors as well as long-term increases in renewable generation and decreases in coal

By - Jim Vess

Wood Mackenzie puts the cost of transition to all renewable energy at $4.5 trillion

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 The cost of transforming the U.S. electric grid to totally renewable energy in the next 10 to 20 years would be $4.5 trillion given current technology, according to a study by energy-and-industry consultant Wood Mackenzie. At a time of competing climate plans among Democratic presidential candidates and the Green New Deal being promoted by Congressional

By - Jim Vess

Texas, California and U.S. West may face electricity reliability challenges this summer

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 There is adequate generating reverse to meet summer electricity demands in most of the U.S., while Texas, California and the West may face challenges, according to the North American Reliability Corp. (NERC) 2019 summer assessment. NERC, a nonprofit corporation overseeing regional electricity reliability in the Lower 48 United States, Canada and parts of Mexico, assess

By - Jim Vess

New Jersey unveils a broad plan to reach 100 percent clean energy target by 2050

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 A multipronged, draft energy plan aimed at getting New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 was unveiled June 10 by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The plan looks to address transportation, energy consumption by buildings, grid modernization, as well as a net-zero carbon electricity generation and energy storage. The plan also

By - Jim Vess

U.S. energy storage installations set a record in the first quarter of 2019

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 U.S. energy storage installations hit a quarterly record in the first three months of 2019 with 148.8 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, according to a market report by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association (ESA). The first quarter of 2019 installations were 6 percent higher than the last quarter of 2018

By - Jim Vess

Mitsubishi Hitachi seeks to build world’s largest energy storage facility in Utah

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MPHS) and Magnum Development announced a plan at the end of May to develop the world’s biggest clean energy storage facility – 1,000 megawatts – using a range of technologies and salt caverns in Utah. The aim is to provide energy storage for the Western power grid, but critics have already

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

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