Public utilities will face additional future hurdles to their traditional business model that could cost them as much as $34 billion in revenue, according to a new study from the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-based research nonprofit. Titled “Economics for Load Defection,” the report asserts spikes in electrical rates coinciding with decreased costs for solar and battery storage will spur customers to purchase less power from grid operators, with smaller-scale solar-plus-battery systems powering the majority of their electrical generation. This could squeeze out public utilities and other electrical providers unless they take action now, said spokesman and author James Mandel.
There are essentially only three long-run solutions to the climate challenge. The first is to price carbon emissions to reflect the damages from climate change. In practice, this means pricing carbon in as many parts of the world as possible — and ideally, globally — so that there is a level playing field for all energy sources. There has been important progress in this area, including in the European Union, individual American states and regions (for example, California and the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), and parts of China.
The city of Georgetown recently announced that our municipal electric utility will move to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2017. That probably caught some folks by surprise. No, environmental zealots have not taken over our City Council, and we’re not trying to make a statement about fracking or climate change. Our move to wind and solar is chiefly a business decision based on cost and price stability
Austin Energy, the municipally owned utility providing power to roughly 1 million people in the Texas capital, will add 600 megawatts of solar to its generation portfolio by as soon as 2017. Under a request for proposal announced yesterday, Austin Energy said it would consider acquiring the solar power under power purchase agreements with independent solar firms, or it could own the solar capacity outright.
Punishing electricity costs that are as much as five times more expensive than prices on the U.S. mainland and a lack of energy security have long been major concerns in the scattered islands of the Caribbean. The sun-splashed, wind-swept region derives nearly all of its electricity from plants that burn imported oil and diesel. Obama on Thursday announced a $20 million effort to help jump start private and public sector investment in clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Central America. “If we can lower those costs through the development of clean energy and increased energy efficiency we could unleash, I think, a whole host of additional investment and growth,” Obama said.
Bureaucratic overreach was a common theme as potential presidential candidates Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum discussed federal energy policies Thursday in Des Moines. Perry, the former governor of Texas, Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, and Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, used the forum to mostly take shots at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule that would require utilities to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The three Republicans said the proposed rule would add costs, hinder business investment and kill jobs. Affordable energy, they said, is critical to national defense.
The fact that a severed transmission line in Maryland could cut power to much of the nation’s capital became the latest warning sign that the country’s aging electrical grid can’t meet modern demands. Tuesday’s widespread power outage came just weeks before the Department of Energy (DOE)is expected to release recommendations for modernizing the country’s electricity infrastructure. The department recently spearheaded a 15-month review that examined the country’s energy transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure.
Starting today, Tesla will stop selling its old base Model S called the 60, which was a rear-drive car with 380-horsepower motor that could travel 208 miles on a single charge. The new model, called the 70-D, has 514 horsepower and can go 240 miles per charge.
Golden eagles in the Mojave Desert fly much farther and have a much larger range of habitat than previously known, according to a new study that suggests federal land managers should factor this into a sweeping plan designed to guide renewable energy across the Southern California desert. The latest study, published this month in the journal Biological Conservation, used radio telemetry and global positioning system devices to track the year-round movements of eagles in the Mojave Desert in California.
A Wisconsin state agency enacted a ban on staff communication on climate change yesterday, calling the issue of rising global temperatures a distraction from its mission. The state Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, a three-member panel, approved the ban at a meeting yesterday. The board oversees an agency that manages certain state properties.