By - Jim Vess

New York State moves forward with big programs on renewable energy and EVs

Energize Weekly, July 29, 2020 New York State announced two big clean energy initiatives in July – the largest in the nation solicitation for 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable generation and a plan to build 110,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The New York Public Service Commission approved a plan on July 16 to allow six electric utilities in the

By - Jim Vess

Transition costs to a zero-emissions transport system drop with falling battery prices

Energize Weekly, July 22, 2020 The cost of a transitioning to zero-carbon transportation is plummeting – thanks to a drop in battery prices – and may not need much in the way of direct government investment to speed the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, according to an analysis by University of California, Davis researchers. In 2016, the UC Davis Institute of

By - Jim Vess

Coronavirus continues to twist and warp energy demand in the U.S., studies find

Energize Weekly, July 8, 2020 The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to torque and warp energy demand and markets in the U.S. from shifts in electricity demand to filling commercial oil storage to record levels. Electricity demand is projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to be the lowest since 2009 – 998 billion kilowatt-hours – and 5 percent below

By - Jim Vess

Coronavirus pandemic rattles energy markets from oil to wind to energy storage

Energize Weekly, April 22, 2020 Pandemic and recession are rippling through almost every corner of the energy sector from oil companies to wind, solar and energy storage manufacturers. “Over half the world’s population is now under lockdown, as demand for power drops and the risk of global recession grows,” according energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. “A ‘return to normal’ will be

By - Jim Vess

COVID-19 drives down electricity demand, puts renewable projects and balance sheets at risk

Energize Weekly, April 15, 2020 The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on electricity demand in the U.S. and on the utility industry is becoming clearer with lower loads, changing peak demands, more emphasis on renewable generation and emerging financial risks. U.S. power usage is set to drop more steeply in 2020 than in any year at least over the

By - Jim Vess

NRC to grant waivers for work-hour limits at nuclear units to meet pandemic staffing needs

Energize Weekly, April 8, 2020 Faced with the risk of not being able to meet the rigorous staffing requirement for operating nuclear power plants during the ongoing pandemic, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it is prepared to grant exemptions from work-hour controls. The NRC in a March 28 letter to the industry trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI),

By - Jim Vess

Electricity demand drops as utilities enact plans to keep lights on during the pandemic

Energize Weekly, April 1, 2020 The closing of businesses and sheltering-in-place of millions of citizens to tamp down the novel coronavirus pandemic is dampening demand for electricity, even as utilities across the country put in place emergency plans to keep electrons flowing through the grid. Between March 14 and March 24, daily peak demand was down between 2.2 percent to

By - Jim Vess

Solar industry catches a bad case of the coronavirus as supply and demand both fall

Energize Weekly, March 25, 2020 The solar industry has caught a case of the coronavirus ­with the symptoms being a supply chain slowdown and a drop in demand for solar projects. With China manufacturing 70 percent of the world’s solar panels, the emergence of the disease there and the aggressive steps to shut down social interactions including factory work was

By - Jim Vess

Hedges will help U.S. drillers survive Russian-Saudi price war and coronavirus

Energize Weekly, March 18, 2020 The oil market is set for a long price war, falling consumption, a shake-out among U.S. shale drillers and a missed opportunity for Asian economies, according to industry analysts. Yet even as depressed prices lead to fewer drilling rigs and a slowing in U.S. production, some operators may be in a better position to ride

By - Jim Vess

Wind turbine maker Vestas sets a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020 Vestas, the world’s top wind turbine manufacturer, has set a target of becoming carbon neutral in its operations by 2030 and to push for carbon reduction across its supply chain. Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas said that it will reduce its carbon footprint by 55 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030. The company said that

By - Jim Vess

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2019, but face a future bump from oil and gas

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020 The burgeoning U.S. oil and gas and petrochemical sectors are set to add greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years – even as they decline for the power sector, according to two analysis of the country’s emissions. In 2019, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1 percent, a decline almost entirely due to a record

By - Jim Vess

Companies join global effort to set science-based emission targets for their operations

Energize Weekly, December 11, 2019 Nearly 700 companies around the world are moving to adopt “science-based targets” for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions with 40 percent already having plans in place, according to the non-profit and governmental groups sponsoring the initiative. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) – a collaboration among the charity CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the

By - Jim Vess

Energy-related CO2 emissions in U.S. rise in 2018 for the first time in five years

Energize Weekly, December 4, 2019 Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy-related activities in 2018 rose in the U.S. for the first time in five years, posting a 2.7 percent annual increase to 5.27 billion metric tons, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Driving the increase were higher emissions from natural gas-fired power generation, which was up as extreme

By - Jim Vess

International action has been insufficient to curb GHG, drastic action needed, the UN says

Energize Weekly, December 4, 2019 The gap between international efforts to curb greenhouse gases (GHG) and the growing emissions has grown so large that dramatic reductions over the next decade are needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, according to a United Nations (UN) report. Under the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, countries set their own emission GHG reductions

By - Jim Vess

A third of U.S. population lives in jurisdictions with 100 percent clean energy laws or goals

Energize Weekly, November 20, 2019 While federal clean energy policy has stalled, local governments are pushing forward, and more than a third of the U.S. population lives in jurisdictions – states, districts, territories, counties and cities – with 100 percent clean electricity goals. “A growing number of cities are choosing to transition to 100 percent clean energy – and dozens have

By - Jim Vess

Climate and energy policies around the world are falling short in meeting goals, IEA says

Energize Weekly, November 20, 2019 Even if all the commitments made by countries to cut carbon emissions and provide dependable energy were enacted, the world would still fall far short of having clean, reliable energy in 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA placed all those emission and energy plans into a “Stated Policies Scenario” in its 2019 World

By - Jim Vess

Lithium chemical glut may turn into a pinched market by 2025, Bloomberg analysis says

Energize Weekly, November 6, 2019 The battery demand for lithium chemicals – now in the doldrums – could reach 700,000 metric tons by 2025 and along with 300,000 metric tons for non-battery uses, making for a tight market, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analysis. Lithium prices have been cut in half since the last quarter of 2017

By - Jim Vess

Global energy efficiency drops to lowest rate since the start of the decade in 2018, IEA says

Energize Weekly, November 6, 2019 Primary energy intensity, a key indicator of how much energy is being used by the global economy, was down 1.2 percent in 2018 – the slowest improvement since 2010, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It marked the third year in a row of declining rates, with 2017 posting a 1.7 percent improvement. The

By - Jim Vess

Coal mine prospects in the Powder River Basin are on a poor trajectory, Moody’s says

Energize Weekly, November 6, 2019 A string of coal mining company bankruptcies in the Powder River Basin (PRB), straddling Wyoming and Montana, has changed the basin’s competitive landscape, but not its “poor overall long-term trajectory,” according to an analysis by Moody’s Investor Services. “All of the rated coal companies that produce PRB coal are now focusing on metallurgical coal production

By - Jim Vess

Using EV batteries as a power source can shift peak load, save utilities money, study says

Energize Weekly, October 23, 2019 Turning electric vehicle (EV) batteries into a source of electricity during peak demand hours – making them “virtual power plants” – can shave load and save money, according to an analysis by energy consultant Jackson Associates. The study took customer data – hourly loads, commuting and household data – and used that to model the

By - Jim Vess

IMF calls for $75-a-ton carbon tax, says current carbon-cutting measures are inadequate

Energize Weekly, October 23, 2019 An International Monetary Fund (IMF) analysis says that a $75-a-ton tax on carbon emissions or a comparable fiscal policy needs to be in place by 2030 to limit global warming to 2 degrees centigrade, though it will lead to sharp increases in electricity and gasoline prices. “Policy makers need to act urgently to mitigate climate

By - Jim Vess

U.S. market for ‘smart home’ devices to triple to $75 billion by 2025

Energize Weekly, September 25, 2019 The U.S. market for “smart home” devices will more than triple by 2025, reaching $75 billion, according to data analytics company GlobalData. The growth will be driven by the increased use of smart thermostats, which consumers see as an energy-saving device and utilities as one that can help manage load. GlobalData is projecting an 18

By - Jim Vess

Seattle’s grid could be overwhelmed by ambitious plans for electric trucks and buses

Energize Weekly, September 18, 2019 Seattle’s ambitious plans for electrifying the city’s transportation sector could destabilize the metropolitan area’s electric grid by the addition of large numbers of electric trucks and buses, a study finds. The study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in collaboration with Seattle City Light offers a series of steps to deal with the potentially high

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

Dominion Energy launches a program to swap diesel school buses for electric ones

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019 Dominion Energy has launched a program to replace diesel school buses in Virginia with electric buses starting with 50 vehicles in 2020 and then a second phase – adding 200 buses each year through 2025 – with the ultimate goal of replacing all diesel buses by 2030. The price tag on the first phase of

By - Jim Vess

Building a Small Modular Reactor Fleet

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 By Budd Haemer, Senior Nuclear Counsel, American Electric Power About half the corporate leaders of the United States see nuclear power as essential to a sustainable energy future.  Many of the leaders of the nuclear industry and in Congress see Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) as one key aspect of a viable nuclear industry in the

By - Jim Vess

U.S. DOE launches $50 million research program on electric and alternative-fuel trucks

Energize Weekly, August 28, 2019 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with university researchers and major auto manufacturers, has launched a $50 million program to develop electric and alternative-fuel technologies for trucks and off-road vehicles. The research projects will focus on gaseous fuels – including natural gas, bio-power and hydrogen – heavy-duty truck electrification, fuel cells and energy

By - Jim Vess

Oil will have to drop to $10/barrel to stay competitive with EVs and renewables, BNP Paribas study says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The economics for electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy charging have become so competitive that in the future, the price of oil will have to be no more than $10 a barrel to compete, according to analysis by Paris-based BNP Paribas. The analysis – Wells, Wires and Wheels – is based on a BNP Paribas-devised

By - Jim Vess

Battery storage market to soar by 2040, but could face short-term supply chain challenges

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 Energy storage worldwide will grow 122-fold, to nearly 1,110 gigawatts (GW) by 2040 as battery prices fall and their use expands – but growth may also create supply chain challenges. These are the views of two recent analyses, one by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) seeing market growth, and another by Wood Mackenzie cautioning that

By - Jim Vess

Coal-dependent counties face financial risks if climate change policies are implemented

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 A handful of coal-dependent communities and counties could suffer severe financial burdens as policies to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases and deal with climate change are implemented, according to a study by the Brookings Institution and Columbia University. Twenty-six counties in 10 states rely on coal mining for a significant portion of their employment,

By - Jim Vess

Closing a coal plant and contracts for offshore wind are signs of utility industry’s shift

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 In a sign of the shifting fortunes in the utility industry, on the same day came news of the largest coal-fired plant closure in nearly a decade and the largest U.S. offshore wind contracts ever. On July 18, American Electric Power (AEP) agreed to close a 1.3-gigawatt (GW) coal-fired unit in southern Indiana, and New

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

New York passes sweeping climate action plan to get to net-zero carbon emission by 2040

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 A bill passed by the New York state legislature sets the goal of boosting renewable power, including poorer communities in the transition to clean energy and getting the state to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 for all economic activity. The legislation, passed on June 20, is supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “New York has enacted

By - Jim Vess

Big increases in fossil fuel consumption places world on an unsustainable path, BP says

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 The strong growth in global energy demand in 2018 is a sign that the world is on an “unsustainable path,” according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Global energy demand was up 2.9 percent and carbon emissions grew by 2 percent in 2018, faster than at any times since 2010-2011, according to the

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

Oil demand will see a shift with transportation using less and petrochemicals using more, Barclays says

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 Global oil demand—under current economic and energy development trends—is projected to peak between 2030 and 2035 and then plateau through 2050, according to a new analysis by the London-based investment bank, Barclays. That peak could come as early as 2025 if more aggressive energy policies highlighting renewable power and energy efficiency are implemented, the analysis

By - Jim Vess

Biodiesel fuels claiming a bigger share of U.S. soybean oil production

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 As the soybean market is roiled by trade disputes between the U.S. and China, the domestic biodiesel fuel industry is taking an increasing share of the country’s soybean oil production, according to federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Biodiesel production absorbed 30 percent of domestic soybean oil, or 7.1 billion pounds, from Oct. 1, 2017,

By - Jim Vess

The crossover point when EVs are cheaper than ICE cars is getting closer, BNEF says

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 The “crossover point” when electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper than their internal-combustion-engine (ICE) counterparts continues to get closer with falling battery costs, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). In a 2017 BNEF analysis, the crossover point was forecast as 2026. In 2018, the crossover point had moved two years closer to 2024. In the

By - Jim Vess

Coal plant closure moving west into areas with strong renewable energy resources, says BTU Analytics

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 The battle over coal-fired power plants and renewable energy is moving west, according to analyses by BTU Analytics, a Lakewood, Colo.-based energy consultant. About 81 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity has been closed at 696 units at 360 plants since 2008. In the early years, most of the closures were in the East. “Those retirements were

By - Jim Vess

Western states move on clean energy and carbon emissions reductions

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 A push for clean electricity is sweeping western states with a burst of activity last week as Washington and Nevada adopted new standards and Colorado moved closer to approving a 100 percent net-zero-carbon target for 2050. California last September set a net-zero-carbon target by 2045. In March, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a

By - Jim Vess

Climate-driven weather events pose a risk to municipal bonds, commercial real estate and utilities, BlackRock says

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 Among the economic threats posed by climate change are risks to municipal bonds, commercial real estate investments and the utility sector, according to an analysis by BlackRock and the Rhodium Group. “Our work with Rhodium Group shows a rising share of U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) will likely be hit by climate change in the coming decades,”

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy proposes a $76 million EV charging station program in North Carolina

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019 Duke Energy has filed a plan with North Carolina regulators for a three-year, $76 million pilot plan to add electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and promote the growth of the vehicles in the state. “North Carolina’s current pace of EV infrastructure availability cannot support the current and future pace of EV growth, and as EV

By - Jim Vess

Dynamic pricing for EVs could lead to $2.6 billion in benefits for Illinois consumers, study says

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019 A well-designed electric vehicle (EV) program in Illinois could create $2.6 billion in consumer benefits, according to the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), a consumer watchdog group. The key to those benefits is simultaneously promoting the adoption of EVs and creating a rate structure that optimizes the charging of those vehicles at off-peak hours, particularly late

By - Jim Vess

Facing costly coal plant closures more states are looking to using securitized bonds

Energize Weekly, March 20, 2019 Faced with a growing number of coal plant closures, some states are looking at the use of securitized bonds to soften the financial impact. New Mexico and Colorado already have legislation to create such bonds. “Securitized bonds are a way to avoid a rate shock and benefit from lower rates from cheaper generation,” said by

By - Jim Vess

NY Gov. Cuomo proposes Green New Deal with $1.5 billion in energy grants

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has begun to roll out specifics of his proposed “Green New Deal,” including $1.5 billion in grants for large-scale renewable energy projects and a $70 million fund to help communities absorb tax losses from shuttered coal-fired power plants. The programs were outlined in Cuomo’s State of the State address Jan.

By - Jim Vess

Utilities must redefine their relations with customers to deal with emerging issues, J.D. Power says

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 Utility companies need to redefine how they interact with their customers to deal with emerging issues, such as time-of-use rates, electric vehicles (EVs) and rooftop solar, according to an analysis by marketing research company J.D Power. “There is a need for traditional utilities to engage with their customers as things are happening,” Andrew Heath, senior

By - Jim Vess

EV sales set a record in 2018, almost doubling the number of electric vehicles sold

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 Electric vehicle (EV) sales soared in 2018, surpassing record-breaking 2017 by 81 percent with 361,307 vehicles sold, according to Inside EVs, a market-tracking website. December also set a monthly record with 49,900 plug-in vehicles sold, nearly double the number sold in December 2017. Each of the last three months of 2018 posted a record, beating

By - Jim Vess

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose across all sectors in 2018, Rhodium says

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 U.S. carbon dioxide emissions linked to energy use rose for the first time in three years in 2018—with all sectors from power generation to manufacturing to home heating—posting increases. There was a 3.4 percent increase in emissions, according to a study by the Rhodium Group, an energy and economic analytics consultant. “This marks the second

By - Jim Vess

Natural disasters caused $160 billion in damages in 2018 with about half covered by insurers

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 Natural disasters worldwide caused $160 billion in damage and killed 10,400 people in 2018, making it the fourth mostly costly year for the insurance industry since 1980, according to the international insurer Swiss Re Group. “The indications at the start of 2018 were that it would be a more moderate year,” Petra Löw, a Swiss

By - Jim Vess

Floating solar in U.S. reservoirs could produce 10 percent of the nation’s electricity

Energize Weekly, January 9, 2019 Floating solar panels on 24,000 man-made reservoirs in the U.S. could generate 10 percent of the nation’s electricity and avoid gobbling up 8,100 square miles of land with ground installations. One of the challenges with large-scale deployment of wind and solar generation is the land requirements but shifting to floating photovoltaics (PV) could offer one

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