Xcel Has Room For Renewable Generation On Its Grid. So Where Is That?

September 21st, 2017 by John Farrell. Originally published at ilsr.org. Determining exactly how much local renewable generation can reach Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota hinges in part on how many of these projects the existing grid can accommodate. To that end, the state’s Public Utilities Commission compelled the utility last year to report on more than 1,000 “feeders” delivering electricity to homes and businesses across its …

by 2020 solar-plus-storage will be a cost-competitive source of dispatchable energy

For most, the payoff is not here yet, according to a new NREL study. But it’s coming as PV deployment increases. By Julian Spector August 22, 2017 With so few utility-scale solar-plus-storage projects actually built, we don’t have much data on how their economics work.  Now those companies considering it — a group that includes all major solar developers— have a bit more …

More closures and no new coal plants in the US

By Benjamin Storrow, ClimateWire on August 21, 2017, Scientific American About 16 percent of the U.S. coal fleet has retired in the past five years, but don’t expect major new coal-fired plants to fill that void. The federal government counts four new coal projects on a list of planned power plants nationwide. Three of those face long odds, and none will be able …

Kauai PV and storage strategy

Excerpt from Grist, August 2017 “We designed the Tesla plant to be like a conventional power plant,” Brad Rockwell tells me. He is the head of power supply for Kauai’s utility cooperative, the one in charge of balancing supply and demand. “I can say, ‘OK, give me 5 megawatts on the grid,’” Rockwell says. “And the plant looks around and …

The Future of Energy Pricing

By Fereidoon Sionshansi. Originally published on Energy Post. Sept 2017 The rapid transformation of the electricity sector will make it necessary for utilities to adopt radically new pricing methods, writes Fereidoon Sionshansi, publisher of newsletter EEnergy Informer and editor of a new book, Innovation & Disruption at the Grid’s Edge. According to Sionshansi, existing volumetric tariffs will increasingly be replaced by fixed service fees. …

Trump country adding community solar fast: in 2014 rural co-ops hosted 33 community-solar programs. By 2016: 141. End of 2017: 230

A solar brush fire in Trump country, David Ferris, E&E News reporter, Energywire: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Washington County, Iowa, is populated by Mennonite and Amish farmers who raise hogs and cows, the kind of place where Donald Trump took more than 56 percent of the vote in last year’s election. It is also a hotbed of something Trump voters aren’t …

For-profit utilities are just doing what they’ve been designed to do. The design is the problem.

Count on David Roberts to explain the complex and make it simple and understandable! By David Roberts@drvoxdavid@vox.com  4 Sept 2017 (Shutterstock) Most people are at least vaguely aware at this point that power utilities are the Bad Guys in the story of renewable energy — fighting rooftop solar, clinging to old coal plants, and generally slow-walking the work of cleaning up the grid. But …

Zero-fuel-cost renewables (primarily wind and solar) are reducing the total amount needed from the grid. New fossil fuel power plants are likely to be stranded assets

By John Farrell, August 2017 – excerpt  No matter how low the operations costs of a coal or nuclear (or gas) power plant, they need fuel. And it’s virtually impossible to find any supplier of coal, uranium, or gas who can compete with zero. Plus, there aren’t many utility customers who want to pay more than they have to for …

Utilities Knew: Power Providers Had Info/Acknowledged Impacts of Climate Change 50 Years Ago

8/3/2017 – BY ENERGY AND POLICY INSTITUTE Scientists had begun to warn electric utilities about climate change by 1968, and by 1988 the industry’s official research and development organization had acknowledged that, “There is growing consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect is real.” Despite this early knowledge about climate change, electric utilities have continued to invest heavily in …

Corruption Pipeline: How Pipeline Builders Win Big, Whether More Gas Is Needed or Not

Close corporate relationships between pipeline builders and gas buyers are allowing companies to reap higher profits while locking in emissions for years to come. By Phil McKenna, Inside Climate News, 3 Aug 2017 The real fight over America’s energy future isn’t in coal, despite the Trump administration’s public focus on a mining revival. Rather, dozens of pipeline projects, making up …