Category Archives: Energy innovation

Emerging technologies and institutional change to meet new challenges while satisfying consumer tastes

Repost: Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth | Utility Dive

“(O)nly 16% of respondents indicating integration is the most pressing problem. Instead, the election of Donald Trump appeared to have an impact on their fuel mix outlooks, with 35% of respondents indicating regulatory and market uncertainty are now the most pressing concern.”

Source: Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth | Utility Dive

Repost: CAISO notches record, serving 56.7% of demand with renewable energy in one day | Utility Dive

Solar and wind power combined also hit a peak on the same day by serving 49.2% of demand.

Source: CAISO notches record, serving 56.7% of demand with renewable energy in one day | Utility Dive

The end of nuclear in the U.S. for now?

Westinghouse has a long history, rivaling General Electric for decades. The two nuclear plants its constructing are overbudget and behind schedule (which was already nearly a decade to completion.) Hard to believe any firm will want to take on these risks in the future.

Reports: Nuclear firm Westinghouse Electric to file for bankruptcy next week | Utility Dive

Utilities are already preparing for potential fallout if the engineering firm overseeing construction of the Vogtle and VC Summer nuclear units goes under.  

Source: Reports: Nuclear firm Westinghouse Electric to file for bankruptcy next week | Utility Dive

Why coal isn’t coming back–cheap renewables

It’s not environmental regulation now that is leading to the demise of the coal industry–it’s the cheaper cost of alternatives. Rather than “bring back coal mining jobs,” we should focus on how we retrain and relocate those displaced workers. And we need to look for new industries that may thrive in “coal country.”

Moody’s: Falling wind energy costs threaten Midwestern coal plants | Utility Dive

In the Midwest, the investor services firm sees 56 GW of regulated coal-fired capacity at risk.

Source: Moody’s: Falling wind energy costs threaten Midwestern coal plants | Utility Dive

Push comes to shove on whether electricity markets are functioning

Over the last year, various states have introduced subsidies and preferences for different electricity resources that have circumvented the independent system operator (ISO) markets that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved in the 1990s. FERC’s intent was that hourly markets would provide all of the price signals needed to induce appropriate investment. As we’ve found out in California, that hasn’t worked out that way. These markets have difficulty conveying the full price information for all services (in part because many utility-owned generators are subsidized through state rate of return regulation) and the environmental and technological benefits that may be difficult to monetize in an hourly price.

FERC has challenged some of these new rules, and both won and lost in the courts.  Now the market monitor in the biggest market in the U.S. that covers the Northeast and Midwest is joining the fight. If the market monitor wins, this will raise the salient question of whether FERC needs to rethink its policy, or will states begin to withdraw from the ISOs to pursue their own policy goals?

PJM market monitor opposes Illinois nuclear subsidies | Utility Dive

The market monitor argues the state’s subsidies “unlawfully intruded” on FERC’s authority over wholesale interstate electricity sales. 

Source: PJM market monitor opposes Illinois nuclear subsidies | Utility Dive

Repost: How the US Wind Sector Is Building Momentum, Driving Economic Benefits | Greentech Media

Five graphics that show strong growth in U.S. wind energy after a two-year slowdown

Source: How the US Wind Sector Is Building Momentum, Driving Economic Benefits | Greentech Media