Tag: Energy Efficiency

State and Metro Governments, Consumer Actions Drive Dramatic Shift in US Energy Landscape

The United States is experiencing a significant shift in its energy landscape. Last year, utility-scale wind and solar power combined for 47 percent of new generation capacity in the U.S. Based on this expansion, 11 states now generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from solar, wind, and geothermal power, with three of these states — Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas — exceeding 20 percent. In 2014, California became the first state in the nation to garner 5 percent of its electricity from utility-scale solar. When including hydropower, four states —Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and South Dakota — now exceed 70 percent renewables generation.

Canada Announces Weak Climate Target

Last week, Canada has announced its contribution to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases by announcing its post-2020 target. The target announced today is off-track to the 80 percent cut by 2050 they committed to in 2009 and significantly higher than the U.S. target. They also announced a series of new measures, but failed to address their largest source of growing emissions — tar sands.

Coast to Coast and Across the Electric System, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that have the ability to disconnect from the main, centralized grid to operate independently when the main power grid experiences disturbances. 

Germany’s Powerhouse Feels Pinch of Merkel’s Shift to Renewables

North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that’s home to utilities RWE AG and EON SE, is losing its standing as the country’s powerhouse as wind and solar energy begin to displace conventional sources.

Electricity consumers in the western state, which has one-third of Germany’s installed conventional power capacity, last year paid 3.1 billion euros ($3.5 billion) more to subsidize clean energy generation than producers there were awarded, the BDEW utility lobby said in a report Tuesday. The biggest recipient was Brandenburg in the east with a positive balance of 838 million euros.

 

 

The New Normal? Renewables, Efficiency, And “Too Much Electricity”

Just over a decade ago, the state of California faced serious concerns about whether its utilities could generate and/or buy enough power to assure that the world’s seventh-largest economy could keep the lights on. The infamous California energy crisis, which affected several other western states as well, was a complex tangle of poorly structured deregulation, significant market manipulation (remember Enron?), and other causes. Along with rolling blackouts, California endured an official state of emergency that lasted 34 months, led to the recall and replacement of Gov. Gray Davis, and cost the state and its ratepayers billions of dollars — a cautionary tale for all states of electricity supply unable to meet demand.

Summers’ Law Strikes Again

Lawrence Summers famously wrote, “there are idiots, look around” in an attack on the theory that markets are rational. What some have called “Summers’ Law” certainly applies to the markets’ response to the slide in the price of oil as it relates to stocks of renewable energy companies.