News

Minnesota’s community solar leads the nation and reaches 400-MW milestone

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Minnesota’s community solar program—the biggest and fastest growing in the country—reached a record 401 megawatts this summer, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The program was launched in November 2014 by Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility. There was a two-year lag as projects worked their way through the approval

While most states still depend on fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, big shifts are underway

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Fossil fuels continue to be the main source for generating electricity in more than two-thirds of the country, but there continues to be a shift away from coal and natural gas, with a slight uptick in nuclear generation and hydropower, according to figures from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Coal-fired power plants provided the

Carbon Tracker says fossil fuel demand peaks in 2020, spurred by rapid market transformation

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Demand for fossil fuels will peak in the 2020s, as market competition, technological innovation and shifts in energy transform the market and create financial risk, according to a Carbon Tracker analysis. The projections by the London-based energy think tank are aggressively predicting a peak at least a decade ahead of other forecasts. “We have seen

Offshore wind development could bring a $3.6 billion boon to Eastern seaboard state

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Offshore wind power development could bring a $3.6 billion economic boon to five Eastern seaboard states, generating about 24,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent operations jobs, according to a study by BW Research. “The U.S. offshore wind industry is poised for substantial growth, thanks to falling costs and increasing recognition by state and federal policy

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions dropped in 2017 as gas and coal use dipped

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. dropped slightly in 2017 due to a combination of weather conditions, energy efficiencies and the utility industry’s steady march away from burning coal, according to federal data. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) linked to energy activity in 2017 dipped by just less than 1 percent to 5.14 billion

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

Total worldwide sale of electric vehicles hits 4 million in September

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 The pace of electric vehicle (EV) sales is accelerating, reaching a total of four million vehicles on the roads worldwide this September, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. China has emerged as the key market for EVs, responsible for around 37 percent of passenger EVs sold globally since 2011 and for about 99 percent of

Utility and power sector investments reach a record $180 billion in first half of 2018

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Utility and power sector deals globally hit a record $180 billion in the first half of 2018, spurred by industry consolidation and renewable energy investments, according to a report by Ernst & Young (EY). The accounting and consulting firm’s second quarter “Power Transactions and Trends” report shows record investment even as deals cooled in the

Wind stays competitive in the face of low natural gas and wholesale energy prices, DOE says

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Wind generation, while facing some challenges in wholesale electricity markets, has continued to be competitive with prices for power purchase agreements and turbines continuing to fall, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). After reaching $70 a megawatt-hour long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2009, prices dropped to as low

Dry cooling systems offering an alternative to power plants big demand for water, EIA says

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Power generation is one of the biggest consumers of water—used for cooling—in the U.S., but a small, though increasing number of plants are using dry cooling technology, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Dry-cooled and hybrid plants, which use both water and air cooling, account for only 3 percent of current steam-powered generating

Oil and gas capital investment has been a volatile boon and a bane in the economy

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Capital investment in the oil and gas industry grew rapidly after 2006 but has shown itself to be more volatile than overall capital investment, creating both a boon and a potential bane for the economy, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. From 2006 to 2014, capital expenditures, or capex,

FirstEnergy plans to close four fossil fuel-fired power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) announced Aug. 29 that it plans to shutter four fossil fuel-fired power plants with a total of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity by 2022. “FES is closing the plants due to a market environment that fails to adequately compensate generators for the resiliency and fuel-security attributes that the plants provide,” the

Montana wind developers seeks to use federal law in contract dispute over projects

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 A wind power developer has turned to Montana utility regulators and a federal law to resolve a payment dispute with NorthWestern Energy, the state’s largest utility, over four wind projects and a battery-storage facility it has proposed. Caithness Beaver Creek LLC (CBC) is seeking to develop the four projects, near Big Timber, Mont., totaling 80

Frack sand demand “extreme” as market set to rise to $6 billion by 2023, IHS Markit says

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 The increased drilling of longer horizontal wells in shale oil and gas formations is fueling an escalating demand for the sand used to keep open fissures in rock after it has been fracked, leading to a $6 billion market by 2023, according to energy consultant IHS Markit. The market for the sand, called a proppant,

Study says shift from coal to renewables could save western co-ops $600 million

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 A switch from coal-fired generation to a mix anchored by low-cost wind and solar could save the rural electricity cooperatives served by one western generation and transmission association $600 million by 2030, according to analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). RMI, a non-profit energy consultant, used the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves

Xcel Energy and Pueblo steel mill strike fixed rate agreement including 240-MW solar plant

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 Xcel Energy and one of its largest Colorado customers, EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, have struck a unique agreement that gives the steelmaker a fixed electricity rate for 23 years and a 240-megawatt solar installation at the plant. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has to approve construction of the photovoltaic solar facility at the EVRAZ

Water demand for fracking surges, wastewater and fluids also rise at drill site, study finds

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 Water demand for fracking and the flowback and produced water from fracked wells has soared with the amount of water being used up as much as 770 percent and flowback volumes increasing up to 1,440 percent in six years, according to a Duke University study. The increased water use and wastes in shale oil and

Corporate renewable energy buys in 2018 already surpass all-time record

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Corporate purchases of renewable energy worldwide in 2018 have reached 7.2 gigawatts (GW) and already surpass the all-time record set in 2017 by 33 percent. Long-term contracts to purchase wind and solar resources have been signed in 28 markets as the number of industries seeking clean energy resources is growing, according to an analysis by

Industrial air pollution cut 60 percent as a result of federal clean air rules

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Air pollution from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent between 1990 and 2008 even as industrial output increased by 30 percent as a result of environmental laws and regulations, according to a study by University of California-Berkeley economists. The researchers analyzed newly available data on 1,400 products produced by U.S. factories between 1990 and 2008.

Wind industry will be cushioned by five trends when key tax credit expires, WoodMac says

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 The federal wind production tax credit, which has been a key driver in the development of U.S. wind power projects is set to expire, but energy consultant Wood Mackenzie says there are five factors that will cushion its loss. The production tax credit (PTC), which grants a credit for each kilowatt-hour a wind project generates

Michigan utilities propose $20 million in programs to boost EV charging stations

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Michigan’s two largest utilities are proposing electric vehicle (EV) charging programs totaling $20.5 million that would add thousands of stations in the state, according to filings with the Michigan Public Service Commission. Both plans also tie development of residential charging stations to time-of-use rates (TOU) aimed at getting customers to charge their vehicles in off-peak

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

Coal consumption by U.S. utility industry hit a 34-year low in 2017

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 U.S. coal consumption for electricity generation slipped to its lowest level in 34 years in 2017, continuing a four-year skid, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The utility industry used 661 million short tons of coal in 2017, as consumption and shipments by all modes of transport declined. Almost 70 percent the power-sector

A third of gas-fired plants on the California grid could be closed without a reliability impact, study says

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 Nearly a third of the natural gas-fired power plants on the California grid could be retired without impairing reliability, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). There are 89 natural gas plants on the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) grid. Modeling by the UCS, a non-profit environmental group, found that 28

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

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Denver Post reporter Mark Jaffe on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver PostWe are proud to welcome Mark Jaffe, our newest contributor! Check out Mark’s page here

Mark Jaffe

Denver Post reporter Mark Jaffe on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post
Denver Post reporter Mark Jaffe on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post

Mark Jaffe, Writer, EUCI

Mark Jaffe is a former writer on energy issues for The Denver Post. He was an energy and corporate finance reporter for Bloomberg News and covered environment and energy for The Philadelphia Inquirer. As a Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a Neiman Fellow at Harvard, Mark studied the links between the economy, energy and the environment.

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Minnesota’s community solar leads the nation and reaches 400-MW milestone - Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Minnesota’s community solar program—the biggest and fastest growing in the country—reached a record 401 megawatts this summer, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The program was launched in November 2014 by Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility. There was a two-year lag as projects worked their way through the approval
While most states still depend on fossil fuel-fired electricity generation, big shifts are underway - Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Fossil fuels continue to be the main source for generating electricity in more than two-thirds of the country, but there continues to be a shift away from coal and natural gas, with a slight uptick in nuclear generation and hydropower, according to figures from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Coal-fired power plants provided the
Carbon Tracker says fossil fuel demand peaks in 2020, spurred by rapid market transformation - Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Demand for fossil fuels will peak in the 2020s, as market competition, technological innovation and shifts in energy transform the market and create financial risk, according to a Carbon Tracker analysis. The projections by the London-based energy think tank are aggressively predicting a peak at least a decade ahead of other forecasts. “We have seen
Offshore wind development could bring a $3.6 billion boon to Eastern seaboard state - Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Offshore wind power development could bring a $3.6 billion economic boon to five Eastern seaboard states, generating about 24,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent operations jobs, according to a study by BW Research. “The U.S. offshore wind industry is poised for substantial growth, thanks to falling costs and increasing recognition by state and federal policy
U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions dropped in 2017 as gas and coal use dipped - Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. dropped slightly in 2017 due to a combination of weather conditions, energy efficiencies and the utility industry’s steady march away from burning coal, according to federal data. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) linked to energy activity in 2017 dipped by just less than 1 percent to 5.14 billion
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
Total worldwide sale of electric vehicles hits 4 million in September - Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 The pace of electric vehicle (EV) sales is accelerating, reaching a total of four million vehicles on the roads worldwide this September, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. China has emerged as the key market for EVs, responsible for around 37 percent of passenger EVs sold globally since 2011 and for about 99 percent of
Utility and power sector investments reach a record $180 billion in first half of 2018 - Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Utility and power sector deals globally hit a record $180 billion in the first half of 2018, spurred by industry consolidation and renewable energy investments, according to a report by Ernst & Young (EY). The accounting and consulting firm’s second quarter “Power Transactions and Trends” report shows record investment even as deals cooled in the
Wind stays competitive in the face of low natural gas and wholesale energy prices, DOE says - Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Wind generation, while facing some challenges in wholesale electricity markets, has continued to be competitive with prices for power purchase agreements and turbines continuing to fall, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). After reaching $70 a megawatt-hour long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2009, prices dropped to as low
Dry cooling systems offering an alternative to power plants big demand for water, EIA says - Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Power generation is one of the biggest consumers of water—used for cooling—in the U.S., but a small, though increasing number of plants are using dry cooling technology, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Dry-cooled and hybrid plants, which use both water and air cooling, account for only 3 percent of current steam-powered generating

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