News

Verizon sees renewable energy backup system as a profit-making venture

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Verizon Communications Inc., the United States’ largest cellular and broadband provider, polished its green business credentials last week by announcing it would effectively double its solar power generation at 13 company-owned sites in six states. The additional solar power, which should boost the firm’s renewable energy portfolio to an industry-leading 25 megawatts, was more than a gesture toward promoting clean energy and environmental sustainability.

Re-inventing the grid

Source: By Steve Calechman, MIT News • Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Cambridge-based MIT startup Ambri is building a novel liquid metal battery for grid-level storage to revolutionize energy in the 21st century. The challenge of selling any new idea is that it has to compete with every other new idea. The process is more difficult when the idea’s technology hasn’t existed and addresses an issue that some industries don’t see as a problem. Such is the reality of Ambri.

Power industry on a ‘train wreck’ path, consultant says

Source: Peter Behr, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Four years ago, energy consultant Peter Fox-Penner assessed disruptive forces converging on the U.S. electric power sector, finding that the industry’s century-old business models would have to radically change because of the climate threat, technology innovation and slowing growth for electricity. In an updated version of his 2010 book “Smart Power,” Fox-Penner, chairman emeritus of the Brattle Group consultancy, documents how these trends have accelerated since then. He presents the case for change as a survival issue for an industry with an indispensable product.

What happened to that national high voltage transmission system?

Source: By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive • Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Once-bold calls for national high-capacity transmission to harvest abundant but remote U.S. wind, solar, and geothermal resources are now a distant whisper. But some developers are still pioneering upgrades for a fragile, somewhat balkanized electricity delivery system. “You can’t get enough clean energy from distributed resources,” said former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) chairman and staunch distributed energy resources (DERs) advocate Jon Wellinghoff. “If you run the numbers, you find out we need these clean remote resources and transmission lines to get them to the load.”

Reid vows to hold vote on renewable tax credits, calls for LNG tax reform

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today said he would bring tax extenders for renewable energy to the Senate floor this year, lambasting Republicans for their opposition earlier in the year. Tax credits for wind energy, biomass, energy efficiency and other energy sources are among a package of about 50 credits and other incentives that expired in January or are set to lapse at year’s end.

Energy chat reveals color change may protect birds from wind turbines

Source: By Tracy Overstreet, Grand Island Independent • Posted: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Those dazzling white wind turbine blades that are often seen being trucked across Nebraska highways may be up for a color change. “Less birds fly into black blades,” said Tim Frentz, the founder of the Helping Hands Network and co-owner of the Nebraska Green Fuels Co-op, both renewable energy organizations. The comment came as representatives from the Center for Rural Affairs and Bold Nebraska met Tuesday night at the Chocolate Bar in downtown Grand Island with a handful of renewable energy enthusiasts.

Steyer PAC hires 700 in 7 states to make climate ‘dominant issue’

Source: Elana Schor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate political action committee has opened more than 20 offices and hired more than 700 people across the seven states where his largely self-funded operation plans to spend millions of dollars more to help elect Senate and gubernatorial candidates who support broad action on climate change, his aides said today.

Denmark’s Wind Power Output Rises to Record in First Half

Source: By KJETIL MALKENES HOVLAND, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

“This is a record,” said Energinet.dk. “The high share is partly due to more wind than usual, and partly due to a 650-megawatt growth in wind power capacity in 2013.” Wind energy accounted for 33.2% of the country’s energy consumption in 2013, out of an annual electricity consumption of 33.5 terawatt hours. Boosted by stable subsidies for renewable energy, Denmark has so far installed more than 5,000 wind turbines with a total capacity of 4.8 gigawatts, according to the Danish Energy Agency.

Republicans launch probe of EPA’s relationship with NRDC

Source: Elana Schor, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Republicans in the House and Senate today began a formal probe of U.S. EPA’s communications with the Natural Resources Defense Council on the Obama administration’s proposed emissions regulations for power plants as well as restrictions on a prospective copper and gold mine in southwestern Alaska.

Investment in power infrastructure soared from 1997 to 2012 — EIA

Source: Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

The last 15 years have seen U.S. power transmission investment jump from $2.7 billion in 1997 to $14.1 billion in 2012, reversing a three-decade-long decline. Major investors and privately held companies have thrown cash into power infrastructure largely to improve reliability, improve connectivity to renewable sources and adjust to population shifts, according to a snapshotof the sector by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.